The inspiration for this drink came in a sort of roundabout way. Earlier in the year, a friend of mine was on vacation in Miami, and she sent me a description of a cocktail she had been enjoying in a bar in South Beach called Gramps — and then she challenged me to recreate it.
The end result of my experimentation was a drink that bore some similarity to our spring cocktail — I wound up making another tequila-based beverage, once again featuring that omnipresent CSA item, the cucumber. This time around, though, I took out the springy, floral elements, threw in some summery heat and ended up with a spicy, smoky beverage for your patio that I’ve named…
The Ancho Chill-Out
1-1/2 oz Herradura reposado tequila
1/4 oz Ancho Reyes ancho chili liqueur
3/4 oz cucumber-jalapeño syrup*
1/2 oz lime juice
2 dashes orange bitters
shake with ice until tin is frosty; strain over fresh ice
garnish with cucumber slice on rim of glass
The slight caramel note of the reposado tequila played nicely with the ancho chili liqueur, while the cucumber-jalapeño syrup gave a sweet heat, especially on the finish. I think this is a great candidate to make as a punch for a large gathering; it’s complex but approachable, and the heat is present but not overwhelming. And it is super refreshing!
* For our cucumber-jalapeño syrup, I started with your basic simple syrup ingredients (1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water), bringing them to a low boil until the sugar was fully dissolved. Then I tossed in a half of a cucumber (peeled, quartered, and sliced into chunks) along with 2 small jalapeños (seeded and chopped into thin strips). We simmered the cucumber and the jalapeno until the jalapeño strips began to soften, at which point we strained the syrup into a bottle and pressed the vegetable matter to wring out any remaining liquid.