The Sun Stone + Chipotle infused tequila.

Spice, spice baby…

The Sun Stone + chipotle infused tequila.

There are relatively few tequila cocktails compared to those based on other spirits and I was thinking about why this is. Maybe because it’s hard to improve on something like a good Tommy’s Margarita? Maybe because the distinctive flavour of tequila is a little tricky to work with, pairing easily with little other than lime and grapefruit? In any case I’ve been looking to add another tequila arrow to my quiver and I’m quite pleased with my latest creation. The formula is close to the Tommy’s Margarita but with two significant twists the first one being:

Chipotle tequila

Infusions are a great way to add extra dimensions into some of your favourite spirits. Recently I’ve been playing with chipotle flakes as a way of injecting some smoky spiciness into bourbon and tequila and the process couldn’t be easier. Leaving the bourbon version aside for another day, grab a bottle of a good value 100% agave, unaged tequila. I used Topanito blanco but there are plenty of others such as Espolon, Calle 23, Olmeca Altos or 30-30. Next you’re going to need some chipotle flakes from your spice supplier. Just in case you’re unfamiliar with them chipotle is a smoke dried jalapeno pepper that has been around since Aztec times and imparts a wonderful spicy smokiness to many a Mexican dish. You’ll want it in the form of small dark flakes (but not a powder – see picture above) rather than whole dried peppers as it will infuse more quickly in the tequila and, trust me, you’ll not want to wait to long to taste the results! From here on it’s simplicity itself: just add a level teaspoon of flakes to a 700ml bottle of tequila and leave it there for 24 hours giving it a shake now and then. The next day strain out the flakes. In this case a fine strainer is good enough but if your flakes were on the powdery side then running it through a coffee filter might be better. Your resultant chipotle tequila should have a lovely deep red hue. Have a taste. Yup, told you. If you’re a total spice nut you could boost it to a heaped teaspoon and, indeed, the results may depend on the quality of the chipotle you used so feel free to adjust to taste. When I tested the chipotle tequila on some friends the reactions were overwhelmingly positive so I’m confident that you’ll enjoy it too, either neat or optimally deployed in a:

Sun Stone.

I was slightly disappointed that, while still delicious, the chipotle didn’t quite get enough of it’s smokiness into the tequila until I quickly hit on the solution of bolstering it with a portion of smoky mezcal. Being related spirits tequila and mezcal always bond well but in this case you’ll want to go for one that is on the smoky and/or briny side of the range. I found Peloton de la Muerte and La Herancia de Sanchez to be ideal but good ole Del Maguey VIDA would do the job too. The Sun Stone does work with just chipotle tequila but the mezcalated version is a significant upgrade. Named for a stunning sculpture by the culture that invented the chipotle (and which also graces the label of the Topanito blanco tequila that I used).

The Sun Stone

1.25oz / 37ml chipotle infused tequila (see text).

0.75oz / 22ml good quality smoky mezcal.

1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.

0.5oz / 15ml agave syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a champagne coupé.

Garnish with a small pinch of chipotle flakes (optional).

Toast those clever Aztecs and their amazing Sun Stone.

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