One of my husband’s favorite drinks is the Regalo Verde at the bar in the Bowery Hotel in New York City. We stay there every time we are in New York so that we can have one (or more) each night. So, even though we couldn’t remember what was in it, except for jalapenos, we decided to try to recreate it at home with jalapenos fresh picked from our tiny herb garden.
After a bit of experimenting, we came up with two recipes that are pretty good, even though of course they still aren’t the Regalo Verde. Each recipe makes two drinks.
Jalapeno Basil Margarita
Juice from 2 small limes
4 oz. tequila
2.5 oz. Cointreau
2 oz. simple syrup
4 large basil leaves
½-1 jalapeno pepper
Simple syrup: Add 1 cup sugar to 2 cups boiling water. Turn heat very low, stir until sugar is completely dissolved, and let cool.
Muddle 2 basil leaves and jalapeno together in shaker. Add tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and Cointreau. Add ice and shake. Strain into two glasses rimmed with margarita salt. Garnish with basil leaves.
(You can adjust the amount of basil and jalapeno to get it exactly to your taste.)
Jalapeno Ginger Cocktail
Juice of 2 small limes
3 oz. tequila
2 oz. Cointreau
6 oz. ginger ale
Muddle jalapeno in shaker. Add tequila and Cointreau. Add ice and shake. Strain into two glasses. Add 3 oz. of ginger ale to each glass and stir.
A few more things learned along the way:
Jalapeno seeds are the hottest part, so take them out! Clean and slice the jalapenos like you would a bell pepper, removing the ribs and seeds. Or, if you want it really, really hot, add some seeds. Seriously, even one seed in the cocktail made it taste spicier.
Jalapenos that have turned red are much milder and sweeter than ones that are still green.