Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cucumber-Jalapeño Tequila and the Margarita Made with It

The cucumber-jalapeño tequila idea is not original to me. There's a relatively new (and wonderful) bar in town--the Public House--that serves chilled shots of the very same (except with tequila blanco). And of course, I got hooked on this wonderfully-infused liquor. I order it even on the hottest days, just to feel the smooth, cool cucumber flavor, almost immediately followed by a not-unbearable heat of the jalapeño. It is a refreshing and brazen drink, albeit expensive. Ever since first tasting this tequila, I swore to make it myself--once I'd grown my own cucumbers and jalapeños. I have only had this particular tequila straight up, and have been wondering what it would be like to experiment with mixed drinks (but lacked the money to ask the Public House bartenders to make me some). And now, months after first trying the spicy tequila, I'm happy to say that my two lonely cucumber vines have produced a few cucumbers, and my two lonely jalapeño plants have produced a couple peppers. Here is what you should do right now if you have a cucumber, a jalapeño, and a bottle of tequila: infuse the tequila!

-1 liter of mid-range tequila (I used 30-30 Tequila Reposado, but you can use anything you like)
-1 medium (5-6 inch) cucumber, quartered longways
-1 small/medium jalapeño, also quartered longways

1. Pour tequila into a half-gallon jar, or split up between two quart jars. (Save the bottle.)
2. Add the cucumber and jalapeño (or split up evenly between whatever jars you're using)
3. Put in a cool, dark place for 4-6 days. I'd recommend that you taste the tequila as it's infusing--I like a spicier infusion, so I let it sit for 6 days. If you'd like it more mild, you could probably let it sit for as few as 3 days.
4. Strain the tequila into the original bottle (or just fish out the cucumber and jalapeño pieces) or a vessel of your choice; discard (or compost) the cucumber and pepper.
5. Serve thoroughly chilled, or make margaritas (see suggested recipe below).
Using shot glasses to measure; one is orange liqueur, the other is half lime juice/half agave syrup.
Cucumber Margaritas (with cucumber-jalapeño tequila)--serves 2

-2 small/medium cucumbers, peeled and rough-chopped
-4 ounces of tequila (cucumber-jalapeño infused tequila, in this case)
-1 ounce orange liqueur/triple sec
-1/2 ounce lime juice (or juice of half a lime, approximately)
-1/2 ounce agave syrup
-pinch of salt
-a few ice cubes

Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend until the cucumbers and ice are fully-incorporated, and serve.

I did not salt the rims of the glasses because I thought that salt would overwhelm the delicate flavors, rather than contrast with them (as is the case with sweeter margaritas). You can do as you wish. The margarita is a little frothy, but I don't mind; if you do, you could use fresh cucumber juice to substitute for the whole cucumbers. If you're wary of using cucumbers, you could substitute with the flesh of watermelon or cantaloupe (if you're using those, consider omitting the agave syrup). I'm definitely not through playing around with this infused tequila; please let me know what drinks you come up with, if you decide to infuse your own.

I have to say that in addition to being inspired by the ingenious cucumber-jalapeño infused tequila of the Public House, I was also prompted by Kaela Porter's spicy jams in making this drink. I'd been drooling over the recipes on her blog for a long time, then started trying them out a few weeks ago, and have not been able to stop. She introduced me to the idea that a moderate level of spicy does wonders for a not-too-sweet jam. So, this margarita is a little of both--not too sweet, but deliciously spicy. Thanks, Kaela; if I could share this drink with you, I would.


Anonymous said...

It sounds absolutely fabulous, Kat! I can't wait to try it. Thanks so much for dedicating it to me! I'm honored (and will now need to break out my 10-inch white pleather platform shoes and dance a festive TEQUILA dance! :)

zemmely said...

I think I need a picture--or better yet, a video--of you doing that dance. Let me know how it turns out when you try it. Glad that it seems like something you might like.