Friday, May 31, 2013

Spice is Nice

TGIF!!! Is it just me or do "short weeks" following a long holiday weekend always seem brutally elongated? I couldn't be happier that Friday has finally arrived, and I have the perfect suggestion for how to kick off the weekend.

I've always liked spicy foods, but in the past few years, I've really gotten into spicy drinks. I don't know if that's a California thing or not, but I think it would be a welcome idea in a lot of places. From beer to martinis, spicy is in. But like any good dish, it needs to be well-balanced. It's not a contest like this one or this one to see who can survive the heat. It's a delicate meld of ingredients to create the perfect concoction that delights the palate.

I'm well past the age where I'll drink anything come the weekend—like the Friday Afternoon Grain Society at W&L. Thankfully, I've graduated from Purple Jesus. Not the most palatable concoction created, but probably not the objective. And to clarify, Purple Jesus is not a reference to the Viking's Adrian Peterson, but rather a horrid grape juice-based punch heavily laced with Everclear mixed in a 30-gallon trash can.

Some days, I think, call for a cocktail versus a chilled glass of Chardonnay or an ice cold beer. Some days, like the Friday following Memorial Day, call for something a little more special. Enter the pineapple-jalapeño margarita.

In my opinion, it elevates a traditional margarita on many levels:
1. It's not cloyingly sweet like a typical shelf margarita can be, often putting people into a diabetic coma
2. The pineapple and mint is a super refreshing twist on the traditional lime margarita, especially on a hot day
3. The jalapeño offers a surprising kick—in a "Wow, I could've had a V-8!" way not "Wow, where is the nearest gallon of milk?!" way
4. I'm pretty sure there is a higher nutritional value in this version (Yay, Vitamin C!), so you can feel good about getting your vitamins while you drink. No scurvy for you! 
5. You can truly imagine yourself in Mexico sipping this libation on the beach with the sand between your toes.

So, I rest my case. You need to whip this up this weekend. It's easy to make, feels sophisticated and definitely kicks things up a notch (even though I hate that phrase from Emeril).

Welcome to the weekend!

Jalapeños and pineapple: a refreshing combination!
Fresh lime juice. There frankly is no substitute.
Some agave syrup to sweeten it
Fresh mint helps balance the heat
I'm a dork, but this drink is fantastic!

Pineapple-Jalapeño Margarita

5 cups pineapple, chopped
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced (remove the seeds for less heat, but I'd leave at least one in tact)
2 cups tequila
6 Tbsp agave syrup (or could substitute simple syrup or sugar)
4 limes, juiced
1-2 cups sparkling limeade (I bought this at Trader Joe's but you could use Sprite or lime-flavored sparkling water)
1 small bunch of mint, chopped

Throw everything, except the sparkling limeade and mint, in a blender and puree until smooth. It will be kind of thick like a daiquiri. Add the limeade to thin and stir in the chopped mint. Taste and add more limeade if needed. If it's really too hot for you, blend up a little bit of cucumber and add to the mixture. Pour over a glass only half filled with ice and enjoy! Serves 6

1 comment:

  1. dorkiness aside, this drink sounds amazing. the perfect thing to warm up a june-gloom friday! i'm not up for purple jesus, but i'd consider a 30 gallon tub of this.