Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roasted Jalapeño and Pineapple Infused Tequila


Crisp, vibrant, tart Margaritas have always been my cocktail of choice, the stronger the tequila bite the better.  However, after I reached that 40 year mark and watching calories has become a bit more of a requirement, I've tried to reduce sugars.  Realizing that a smallish size margarita can pack as much as 300 calories along with a cupful of those dreaded sugars, I began following the advice of Jillian Michaels and have left the mixers behind, enjoying my tequila straight.

Even in those college days when we were thinking that Cuervo 1800 was "the good stuff" the amber libation appealed to me.  As I've aged (matured??) I've found that there is some really "good stuff" out there, and that the 1800 really isn't it!  A few of my current favorite sippers include Tres Agaves, Corazon, Partida, Casa Noble (it's organic!) and a new Costco find (and better priced!) El Agave.

Seeking something "more" from my sippers, Brandon's, Kitchen Konfidence, post of a Roasted Jalapeño Blackberry Margarita piqued my interest with his infused tequila.  Weeks later, a visit to a local Mexican restaurant, Las Olas, had me perusing the margarita menu and an item with Roasted Pineapple and Jalapeño Tequila quickly caught my eye reminding me of Brandon.

Asking our server about the infused tequila, he smiled and said, "I'm the one who makes it!"  Eagerly retrieving a sample for me he quickly had me hooked.  Slightly sweet but with a spicy kick, the tequila went down easily.  After taking far too much of his time asking all sorts of questions I ventured to Trader Joe's and picked up my own pineapple.  Jalapeños from a friend's plant provided some spicy peppers and we got to grilling.


The pineapple and pepper aromas emanating from the grilling fruits were enticing!  As these peppers were exceptionally hot, I seeded them before dropping them into the infusing jar, then adding the pineapple spears and the tequila we were infusing in a flash.  Within hours the aroma of the roasted jalapeño wafted to our noses as we sniffed the concoction, the pineapple taking a few more days to appear.

Part of the fun of infusing is the tasting... one must taste regularly to know when the infusing is finished!  I must say that I was surprised how quickly the flavors melded into something wholly different than what I had poured into the jar.  After only 48 hours we had a pleasing sense of the spicy peppers on the back of the tongue and a fairly strong smokiness.  Removing the peppers we allowed the pineapple to keep working and 4 days later the sweet flavors made an appearance.   As our pineapple flavor seemed somewhat overwhelmed by the roasted pepper I added a few additional spears to release some fresh juice into the infusion and 24 hours later we had a slightly spicy, slightly sweet tequila that we proclaimed "finished"!

Testing the tequila with a simple Margarita recipe of fresh lime juice, our tequila and a splash of Grand Marnier over ice, we found a wonderful margarita shining with the flavors of the roasted jalapeño, the pineapple however, got lost somewhere in the mix.

Serving the infused tequila at Super Bowl brought mixed reactions.  One guest (our guest poster Dan of Becky's Stromboli) proclaimed that tequila was meant to be tequila, not something else and he promptly returned to the non-infused versions.  Another comment described it as "a very strong yet flavorful cocktail", and other simply smiled with pleasure as the melded flavors sent a pleasant warmth through her body.  Seems this one of those fairly subjective tastes, and you will either like it or you won't.  Our bottle was nearly half gone after the game, so I'm thinking that most people liked it!

For myself, I'm thankful that I didn't put it all out for our Super Bowl event and that I tucked away that other small bottle all for me.  I've dipped into it more than once on those nights when a little "pick-me-up" is in order.

Cheers!



Roasted Jalapeño and Pineapple Tequila

Directions for this infusion can be adjusted to your taste.  Love spicy jalapeños?  Add more!  Don't really like spice?  Add less! 

Here's what I did that worked for me: 

1 750 ml bottle of El Agave Blanco Tequila (any "silver" or blanco will work)
3-5 jalapeños, washed and whole
4-8 spears of pineapple
1 clean jar

Prepare grill to roast the whole peppers and pineapple spears.  Over medium/medium high heat, lay the peppers and pineapple directly on the grates.  Grill for 2-3 minutes, or until peppers have grill marks and are beginning to soften, taking care not to overly char them.  Flip both the peppers and pineapple over to grill the other side.  Grill another few minutes and remove from grill.  Allow to cool.

When cool, remove the top/stem part from the pepper.  Slice the pepper in half.  If you like spice, toss the entire half (seeds and all!) into the jar.  If you would like less spice or if your peppers are extremely hot, seed the peppers and then toss them into the jar.  Place the pineapple spears into the jar.  Pour the tequila over the top and cover.  Let rest.

Taste the tequila every 12-24 hours to check for flavors and spiciness.  Remove the peppers when the tequila is at a pleasing spice/flavor level for you.  Remove the pineapple when the tequila has a nice sweetness.

Our pineapple was fairly "dry" (not much juice).  By day 4, we didn't have a whole lot of pineapple flavor, so I added a few more chunks of ungrilled pineapple.  It took another day or two, but the tequila soon had a nice sweet, pineapple essence.

The taste for this is completely subjective... when you like it, it's done!  

Cheers!


 


28 comments:

  1. I don't know much about drinks, but I'll say awesome idea!:)

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  2. Great job Kim! Thank you so much for the mention. I am definitely going to give this infusion a try over the Summer.

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  3. This is TOO fantastic for words. I love it!

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  4. I'm a margarita girl too. Going to have to try this out. The only difficulty will be finding fresh jalapeños but where there's a will, there's a way!

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  5. Nice infusion combo. I need to try to mix more chiles and fruits with alcohols. I need to move on to tequila since vodka has been conquered(well sorta). Going to try this one for sure..

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  6. I seriously love this idea, a great way to flavour our drinks without upping caolories and sugar.

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  7. I haven't had a Tequila in years and after reading your inspiring post I am definitely needing to learn! I love all the aspired homework and tasting you did to reach such a great experience. Peppers and pineapple just sounds so way out but I bet it's absolute nectar as well as intriguing smoky dynamite!

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  8. What a great flavor combination. I wouldn't have thought to pair the peppers and pineapples together, but you did a magnificent job. I bet that tasting the mix everyday, until it was just right, wasn't bad either.

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  9. Kim, you had me hooked with Tequila, which is my liquor of choice. I love a well mixed margarita (preferably on the rocks) and your infused version has peaked my interest. I will have to bookmark this one and give it a try soon.

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  10. Never had such a tequila before! I love it as it is, and didn't have any idea of adding flavors to it. I'm bookmarking it to try soon. Thanks!

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  11. What this is so unique and looks amazing. I wonder if I would be able to restrain myself from eating the roasted pineapple and jalapenos. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  12. Oh, Kim... what a lovely infused tequila! If only I could drink tequila! If I could, this combination would be perfect for lighting up my day :-)

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  13. Sounds fantastic! I love anything with pineapple.

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  14. This would make for such a fun party drink! Sounds creative and delicious :)

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  15. I would prefer to say "mature" rather than "age", LOL! I'm not a tequila connoisseur by any means but I like the idea of infusing it with jalapeño and pineapple. Sounds wonderful, Kim!

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  16. Totally want to do this now. And then have a big plate of Mexican food on the side. I'm feeling thirsty.

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  17. Great recipe! The idea is so interesting and tempting :)

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  18. What a creative idea Kim! This really looks great! I would most definitely try this

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  19. Holy yumminess of tequila!!! I am suddenly thirsty...Great idea, Kim!

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  20. What a new twist on a classic drink! Thanks for linking to Saturday Swap!!!!

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  21. How cool is that? I've made infused vodka before, but never tequila. I love the pineapple idea. Would love to try this.

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  22. Congrats on the Top 9 yesterday! As you can tell, I've moved on to the cocktails ;) And have to say that I'm loving the libations you're posting - this is such a great idea (even though tequila has a strange effect on me and I generally stick to vodka) and your fresh strawberry jello shots are amazing! Must try soon..

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  23. YUM!! This is fun! Off to get a pineapple!

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  24. ::sigh:: I wish that I could drink tequila. It gives me a very, very nasty headache. Maybe it's a good thing, because I'd be all over this infusion. It looks fantastic.

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  25. I wish more people would play with infusions! I went on a vodka binge last year and ended up with all sorts of flavors. It inspired a friend to do the same and now this year she is moving on to gin!

    Jason

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  26. Great idea! I've infused tequila with jalapeno before, but not with fruit or a combination of both. Think I'll be heading to the liquor store this week to do just that... have a pineapple sitting on my couter just asking for it!

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  27. This seriously sounds amazing! I would love a drink made with it as I am a fan of drinks with a kick! Love it :)! Hope you are having a fabulous weekend :)!

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