This intense drink is a "whiskey sour on steroids" according to Kara Newman, author of "Spice & Ice." The fiery kick comes from apple brandy steeped with a hot habanero pepper. For a slightly less pronounced jolt, discard the pepper's seeds before adding it to the brandy.
Spirits columnist Jason Wilson has tweaked her recipe to include a splash of sparkling mineral water. Its effervescence helps make the heat from the pepper more palatable. He recommends using a flavorful bourbon such as Eagle Rare or Evan Williams Single Barrel.
Make Ahead: The infused brandy needs 1 to 2 hours' curing time.
- For the habanero-infused brandy
- 1 habanero pepper (seeded if desired; see headnote)
- 2 cups applejack or calvados
- For the drink
- 1 ounce habanero-infused brandy
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1/2 ounce amaretto
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Sparkling mineral water, preferably Apollinaris brand
- Twist of lemon peel, for garnish
For the haberno-infused brandy: Steep the habanero in the applejack or Calvados for 1 to 2 hours (to taste), then remove the pepper and strain out any solids. Store in a glass bottle or jar.
For the drink: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the habanero-infused brandy, bourbon, amaretto and lemon juice; shake vigorously, then strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with the mineral water. Garnish with the twist of lemon peel.
Adapted from Kara Newman's "Spice & Ice" (Chronicle Books, 2009).
Tested by Michael Taylor.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.