Spice-Infused Spicy Summer Cocktails
Spice spice baby! We know the Summer can get sweltering, but if you like to live on the edge and want to make it extra hot in here, what better way to do it than with a refreshingly cold cocktail that will make your mouth and belly feel fiery. The dichotomy between chilling ice cubes and the heat of distinct spices make for an incredibly satiating beverage, and we’ve got a few iconic spice-infused spicy cocktails in store that will be the ideal pool or beachside accompaniment.
Spicy Cucumber Serrano Gimlet
This refreshing beverage resembles spa water–herbaceous and hydrating. The base of the cocktail is vodka, sparkling water, and lime juice, and you’ll need fresh mint, basil, and cucumbers, which you’ll muddle in a shaker. An alternate option for the mint and basil would be to use dried herbs and muddle them with the cucumber. The flavor might be a little different, but it will still pass the taste test with flying colors. For sweetness, you’ll want honey, and for spice, you’ll want a serrano pepper. Below are the exact ingredient measurements–just so your drink doesn’t get too strong!
- 2-4 basil leaves or dried basil to your liking
- 3-5 mint leaves or dried mint to your liking
- 1/4th of a cucumber, thinly sliced (think spa water)
- 1 tbsp honey (option to use simple syrup or agave here, or add more or less honey depending on your preference)
- 1 whole serrano pepper, sliced
- 1.5 ounces of vodka
- A splash of sparkling water to top off the beverage
- Optional sugar or another rim garnish
Place all the ingredients, minus the sugar for the rim, in a shaker until blended properly, then strain and pour over ice in a glass with a sugared rim. Tasty, spice-infused spiked spa water–with a twist–for the win!
Spiced Lemon Jalapeño Martini
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you like citrus and zest and the punch that comes from jalapeño, this one is loaded with flavor and is a phenomenal poolside bevy. You’ll combine the eclectic flavors of ginger, cinnamon, star anise, lemon, and vermouth to create a well-rounded, somewhat warming yet refreshing drink that is best served in a chilled glass.
- Fresh or ground dried ginger, to taste
- Star anise for garnish
- ½ ounce of sugar-free cinnamon simple syrup
- ¼ a jalapeño, sliced thin, to taste (if you want it on the spicier side, you can go for half a jalapeño
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- 2 ounces of lemon gin
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- 1 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Optional edible flowers for garnish to make this beverage extra adorable
Combine all ingredients in a shaker, mix well, strain, and serve. Talk about lemon heaven! This herbaceous summer cocktail is sure to make your mouth sweat a bit.
Herby Rose Cocktail
This one is kind of cheating, since you aren’t really making a full-blown cocktail, but the flavors are too delicious not to include it on this list! You’ll need a bottle of rosé–so grab your favorite–pink grapefruit juice, soda water, honey, and some rosemary and basil (fresh preferred but dried also works, it’s just a little tricker to include). To add a sliver of spice, throw in a dash or two of black peppercorns, which pair especially well with acidic fruits such as pink grapefruit.
- 1 bottle Rosé
- 2 cups juiced pink grapefruit
- 1 cup of soda water
- 1/4th cup of honey
- 4 fresh sprigs of rosemary
- 4 fresh leaves of basil
- A couple pinches of black peppercorns
Load up all the ingredients and shake her up, then strain into a wine glass and add a few cubes of ice for extra freshness. You’ll be soaking up the sunshine in a daze without a care in the world if you decide to drink this whole portion for yourself, so it’s highly recommended to share the love and enjoy the cold beverage with a friend. The more the merrier, right?
If you’re wanting to take a break from the spicy cocktails, another concept we love that incorporates spices is adding homemade 5 spice simple syrup to any cocktail. Five spice powder contains four core ingredients–cinnamon, fennel, star anise, and cloves, and Sichuan peppercorns. You can also replace the peppercorns for a bit less of a kick, and the fifth spice can be one of your choosing. It’s relatively easy to make and is a great way to add some intensity and complex flavor to an average cocktail. Due to the intensity of the syrup, we highly recommend starting small–with a mere pinch or two–and testing the waters before going all in. Less is more when it comes to five spice.
Fun fact, the reason 5 spice is called five spice is that it encompasses all five tastes, which are sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. If you have a bland dish or drink, it is an easy way to add complex flavor and it is perfect to have on hand as both a powder and syrup in the event you need it on short notice. The simple syrup recipe is as follows
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp star anise
- 1 tbsp fennel seed
- 1 tbsp Szechuan peppercorns
- ½ tbsp whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken down
Heat the spices until their aroma is palpable, then add the liquid, honey and sugar and reduce to a simmer for an additional 5 minutes. You’ll then want to turn the burner off and let the concoction steep for an hour, and once cooled you can store it in a bottle. The syrup will last for around 2 weeks if refrigerated. Don’t hesitate to get crafty in the kitchen with five-spice!