Monday, October 12, 2015

Pepper Delirious: A Cocktail?

I don't know that there is any other cocktail in the world that has a name that actually makes me not want to drink it other than the Pepper Delirious.  (Okay, maybe Sex on the Beach.  That poor cocktail's name is just too inane to even consider seriously drinking, although, YES, I had it once.  The cocktail, I mean.)

First off, the name "Pepper Delirious" sounds like it is referencing something—and it sounds like I should KNOW what it is referencing—but I don't.  So I feel stupid every time I say it.

Secondly, pepper? In a cocktail??? Ewww.  Who wants bell pepper in their cocktail? I mean, I love veggies.  But putting veggies (with the exception of a cucumber) in your cocktail is like putting meat in your cocktail (hello, Añejo MANhattan).  It just sounds totally wrong.

Until you actually taste a Pepper Delirious.  Veggies or not, I have come to love this drink and would not hesitate in serving you one, no matter how much you objected, if you were to grace my presence some evening.  It is refreshing.  It is daringly different.  It is delicious.

The drink was created by Ryan Magarian (also the developer of the Añejo MANhattan).  He is part creator in Aviation American Gin, a gin that I would love to drink but have never had the opportunity to try.  Regardless of the fact that he is a bartender and obvious mixologist, I have adapted this recipe slightly to suit my own tastes.  His original recipe can be found in one of my most perused cocktail books by Robert Hess, The Essential Bartender's Guide (which I see now is out of print.  That is a damn crying shame.  Wow.  Mud Puddle Books—somebody! Bring this book back into print!)

ANYWAY.  (Let me put my soapbox away...)  In case you are a daring soul like my husband who made me this drink in the first place, I am putting my adaptation of the recipe below; it's a little less minty and a little less sweet than Ryan created, but that's just how I like things.

So, here you go:

Muddle in the bottom of a shaker:

  • 2 thin yellow BELL pepper rings (not sweet pepper--it doesn't taste the same. We tried it.)
  • half a package of organic mint (about 10 grams--Ryan's recipe calls for 40 grams; that's TWO packages! And you thought I was crazy!)
  • 2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. freshly squeeze lemon juice (NO BOTTLED JUICE)
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, dissolved)
When everything is nicely smooshed and broken down, add ice and shake like hell for 30 seconds.

Hess doesn't say to, but I double-strain this cocktail, pouring the drink into your frosty glass through this type of doodad.  It helps keep most of the chunks out (and your teeth clean as you are drinking). 

Garnish with a mint sprig (Hess says to also use a pepper ring garnish, but I don't want that slapping me in the face as I drink).

Below is a photo of my version, attempted with sweet peppers instead of bell (but again, don't do it.  They just don't add the necessary zing or color.):

a Pepper Delirious cocktail

Let me know if you have the gumption to try it, and tell me what you think.  Regardless of the name and those veggies, I am pretty sure you will be wonderfully surprised.

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