By Alison Bailin Batz
Winter weather means it’s time to turn up the heat – in your glass that is. Fire up your palate this month with sizzling, spicy cocktails.
Linger Longer Lounge
This stunner starts with Ancho Reyes Verde, a spicy, smoky and sweet chile liqueur that adds depth and a complex spice to cocktails. It is combined with Suerte Blanco Tequila, which is herbal with a citrus aroma and a subtle sweetness as well as cilantro, lime and a simple syrup made from bell peppers. $9. www.lingerlongeraz.com.
The Refuge Café
A drink that is both quite literally hot and full of flavorful heat, this coffee cocktail features The Refuge Café’s own locally roasted espresso and a heavenly coffee liqueur as its base. It is then combined with a cayenne simple syrup, made daily in the kitchen, as well as chocolate sauce, making it the ultimate mocha sipper for those who like it hot. $7.50. www.therefugeaz.com.
Blanco Tacos + Tequila
Turn up the heat with this fiery cocktail that delivers the taste of a hot chile in a glass. It’s made with blanco tequila, which alone is mild, but when combined with spiced tomatoes, Cholula hot sauce, lime and chile con sal, it erupts with delicious spice with every sip. $10. www.blancotacostequila.com.
OG Spicy Martini
This surprising twist on a martini features gin, dry vermouth, Tabasco sauce and a tart, housemade pickle juice. It’s poured over ice in a martini glass that’s been rimmed with crushed red peppers, smoke paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. It’s garnished with cucumbers to cool and balance the palate. $8. www.ogphx.com.
La Vida Verde
True to its name, La Vida Verde embraces all things green, especially the jalapeno. The popular pepper is perfectly paired with Hangar One Vodka, cilantro, fresh pineapple and an in-house mint verdita, which is a mixture of fresh mint along with even more jalapenos, cilantro and pineapple juice that acts almost like a spicy sour mix in the balanced drink. $11. www.culinarydropout.com.
Spiked Apple Cider
True Food Kitchen
Hot in both taste and temperature, True Food Kitchen’s Spiced Apple Cider – made with mulled spiced brandy, cinnamon, lemon, and topped with cayenne – is sure to spice things up. But have no fear, it’s served in a dainty tea cup so no one will be the wiser to your penchant for all things hot in Phoenix (or anywhere else for that matter). $12. www.truefoodkitchen.com.
Sierra Bonita Grill
Reminiscent of the chile-dusted mangos sold by street vendors in Mexico, the Mangonada is a perfectly balanced sweet and tart cocktail, with a slight bite at the finish. To make it, the mixology maestros combine Hanson Habanero Vodka, Peychaud’s Apertivo, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and Real Mango Puree then shake and strain it into a chile-salted coupe glass, garnished with a lime twist. $9. www.sierrabonitagrill.com.
The Sazona Vida – which loosely translates to “season (or seasonal) life” – is prepared with housemade green pepper tequila, jalapenos, both Anaheim and poblano chilies, habanero hot sauce made in house, and lime. It’s strained into a glass that has been rimmed with tangy tajin seasoning and Spanish paprika dust that’s been topped off with green chile agave and a lime wheel for a fresh garnish. $11. www.tacoguild.com.