I may have sung the praises of Dave Arnold’s technique of using the iSi whip to infuse alcohol previously, but I really mean it now because I will say it this way: You absolutely need to have hot pepper-infused tequila blanco in your life and in your drinks. Those of you who follow me on Instagram may remember when I posted a photo of the black pearl hot pepper plant I’m growing, and how excited I was to finally try one of these puppies out for myself:
Well, a few weeks ago now, I went and harvested a bunch and combined them with a jalapeno to get enough mass with which to infuse some tequila per Dave Arnold’s instructions. It calls for a pretty significant amount of pepper, so I mixed the two so as to not blow my whole crop of black pearls on one recipe, even if it was a very good recipe. This was a shrewd move anyway, because by combining the fruitiness of the jalapeno with the spice of the black pearl (I ate one seed to see what the heat was like and ended up having several little coughing fits) it resulted in a well-balanced tequila that had way more flavor than a straight tequila blanco but also didn’t murder your mouth with unbearable heat.
The secret is to thoroughly seed and devein the peppers, and then slice them up as thinly as possible to increase the surface area for the tequila infusion. This is fairly easy to do with the jalapeno, but it was a total pain to do with the black pearls because they are so small. Depending on what peppers you decide to use, getting some latex or vinyl gloves is not a bad idea so the capsaicin doesn’t linger on your skin. Everything then gets dumped into the iSi Whip with the tequila, and then you seal up the container and start the infusion process. Taking all of ninety seconds, the second-hardest thing to do after the slicing of the peppers is waiting the ten minutes for it to rest after straining to finally try it. I kept it really simple and whipped up some margaritas with the batch I made, but the next time I’ll try my hand at Palomas to see if I prefer a spicy tequila over a slightly aged tequila.
Summer isn’t officially over until Thursday, but with this recipe in my drinks arsenal I can feel like it’s a hot summer day even on the coldest, dreariest, darkest days that are right around the corner.
Black Pearl and Jalapeno-Infused Tequila
Adapted from Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold
Makes just under 16 ounces
- 30 grams of jalapeno and black pearl peppers, seeded and deveined and thinly sliced
- 16 ounces tequila
- 2 N2O iSi Whip cartridges
Combine the tequila and peppers into a pint-size iSi whip and securely close. Insert one cartridge into the canister, swirl, vent (i.e. discharge the gas) and then insert a second about 30 seconds later, letting the canister infuse for all of 90 seconds. Vent and strain into a glass bowl, squeezing the peppers to extract as much liquid as possible. Let sit for 10 minutes before using, storing it in a secure glass bottle.