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6 April 2014

Learn how to infuse alcoholic beverages with chili peppers to bring a spicy kick and flavor to your favorite drinks. Includes several powerful recipes.

Chili peppers go great with any type of food and you can highlight them in so many ways. Recently, a trend is to infuse alcoholic drinks with chili peppers, which is a trend we greatly enjoy.

You can do this at home. The process is very similar to infusing vinegar with chili pepper heat and flavor.

How to Infuse Alcohol with Chili Peppers

In general, always choose the freshest chili peppers for your infusions. Dried chili peppers also work great. Wash the peppers and slit them lengthwise so they do not float. You can also chop them into smaller pieces for a stronger infusion.

Habanero peppers are ideal for infusions as they pack a great deal of heat and flavor, but you can realistically use any type of chili pepper, like the fabulous jalapeno or the smoky chipotle.

Quick Chili Infused Pineapple Vodka Cocktail

The Infusing Process

Slice the chili peppers and drop them down the neck of the bottle you wish to infuse. You may need to make a bit of room. You can infuse alcohol with whole, uncut peppers, but note that they may float. Also, cutting them or at least poking holes into them will allow the alcohol to more quickly enter the peppers, which helps to permeate the alcohol more quickly and effectively.

Your choices of alcohol are limitless, but popular choices are tequila, vodka, and even wine. The amount of chili peppers will depend on your preference, though you can use anywhere from 1 chili pepper for a milder infusion to a dozen for a flavor blast.

2 to 3 peppers are typical.

The chili peppers will eventually sink and your infused alcohol will be ready for consumption in anywhere from several hours to 3 or 4 weeks.

The longer you let the peppers steep in the alcohol, the more chili pepper flavor and heat you will get, though eventually, the peppers can begin to break down if they are left in long enough.

A good amount of time to infuse your alcohol with peppers is 3 days to 1 week.

To Strain or Not to Strain

If you want your pepper infused booze to last longer, strain out the chili peppers and cap the bottle. Use a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth to strain out the peppers. This will let you keep the alcohol for much longer, to be used in all of your favorite cocktail recipes. You run the risk of contamination if you leave the fresh pods in your alcohol.

Can I Infuse a Single Drink with Peppers?

Absolutely. One of my favorite spicy sippers is to take a half of a superhot chili pepper, such as a Carolina Reaper or a Brain Strain and add it to a shaker with several ounces of either vodka or tequila. Give it a few shakes. Let it steep for a couple minutes if you’d like.

The superhots will infuse heat very quickly, so be forewarned. Pour your shot or drink and enjoy. It’s a nice level  of heat!

Try this Scorpion Tongue Vodka Shot Recipe. Nice and spicy!

Serving Up Your Pepper Infused Booze

Chili Pepper infused alcohol is great for mixed drinks like the famous Bloody Mary or the wonderful Margarita, though they also work great to incorporate into sauces and other meals.

Sometimes I enjoy a very simple tequila that has been infused with fresh jalapeno peppers. Absolutely delicious.

How Long Does Chili Infused Alcohol Last?

Chili pepper infused alcohol will last as long as the original non-infused alcohol with this method, provided you strain it.

Try These Infused and Other Spicy Cocktail Recipes

5 from 1 vote
How to Infuse Alcohol with Chili Peppers
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 5 mins
 

Learn how to infuse alcoholic beverages with chili peppers to bring a spicy kick and flavor to your favorite drinks. Includes several powerful recipes.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cocktail
Servings: 16 ounces
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces alcohol Use vodka, tequila, bourbon or whisky, gin, moonshine, or your own favorite type.
  • 3 chili peppers Medium Sized. Use jalapeno peppers for milder heat, serrano pepeprs for mid-level heat, habanero peppers for hot, or ghost peppers or hotter for a truly hot alcohol.
Instructions
  1. Slice the chili peppers in half and add them to the bottle of alcohol. Be sure they float down beneath the alcohol and are not exposed to the air. Screw on the cap.

  2. Alternatively, you can add the peppers to a jar and pour the alcohol over them.

  3. Let the peppers steep in the alcohol for 2 days. You can steep them for anywhere from 2 hours to several weeks or longer.

  4. Test the alcohol at intervals until you achieve the level of flavor and infusion you would like.

  5. Strain out the peppers and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

Chili pepper infused alcohol will last as long as any non-infused alcohol with this method.

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

15 comments

  1. mark blankschen

    A friend asked if I could do a peppered bourbon for him as he liked my vodka version. What pepper would do the best job for flavor and heat? Thanks

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Mark. Sounds great! There are many peppers that would work for this. Much depends on the heat level you’re looking for. I would try a jalapeno, as that is a level most people can handle, but if that is too mild, try a serrano pepper. However, a great flavor idea would be to use a dried ancho pepper. That would infuse the bourbon with some earth flavor that is just awesome. Maybe do both, an ancho and a serrano for flavor and heat. Let me know what you wind up choosing and how it turns out!

  2. Eric Gribbell

    5 stars
    Nice…..I was looking to buy Habanero Tequila, but didn’t seem to have any at the liquor store I shop at. Glad making it was this easy! Just had a little sample to see how the infusion worked, and was rewarded with a nice lip burn! Can’t wait to spend the holiday’s figuring out ways to use this! I think my sisters will probably want to do shots for Christmas!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Awesome, Eric! Glad to help! I wish I was hanging with you and your sisters for Christmas for some shots! Cheers. Merry Christmas.

  3. So my tequila’s infused to my satisfaction, but it seems such a waste to simply toss the peppers. Any thoughts about how they could be used in a subsequent dish?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Hey, Sheri. You don’t have to toss them. You can either cook them into any dish where you’d normally use them (with a little tequila flavor!) or dehydrate them to grind into an interesting seasoning powder. That’s what I often do. Happy to explore other ideas, too!

  4. I wanted to experiment with jalapenos in tequila after having a few jalapeno wine shots during a women’s wine weekend. I put a cup of tequila in a jar overnight with one slice jalapeno, including seeds. The next day I made a margarita with it and it tasted great. Quite spicy, but not overpowering. For me, anyway. My husband thought it was way too spicy. Your recipe says to let it sit 2-3 weeks!! How will the extra time affect the flavor? Spicier? More flavorful? Am I just more of a wimp than I’d thought?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Joni, a day is plenty of time to get some infused flavor, but yes, if you leave them in longer, you’ll have a stronger infusion. Glad you liked it! A day is probably good enough for you. Perfect!

  5. I just dehydrated 1/2 gallon of sliced Carolina Reapers. I plan to cram as many as possible into a bottle and cover with 151 proof. I will allow diffusion for several months and the pour the infused ETOH into a eye dropper bottle for infinite storage as a tincture. The drained chili peppers bottle will be refilled with more 151 proof.

    REPLY: This sounds awesome, Dan! I love it. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  6. How many peppers for 24oz not to spicey

    REPLY: It’s hard to say because pepper sizes vary. 3 large bell peppers are about a pound total, so consider accordingly. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  7. Do i use fresh or dried chili to infuse vodca

    REPLY: Scott, you can use either, but I find that fresh works best. Cheers! — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  8. Homeless fish

    I just made a Bhut jolokia aka ghost pepper Vodka. I used a fresh chopped up whole pepper without seeds and left it in the vodka for only a couple of hours with mild results. Will made another one but with more chilies and leave it much longer.

  9. have put half a naga viper chili into a 750ml bottle of sav blanc, will give it another week and see how it tastes (naga viper) previously the hottest chili in the world 2012

  10. Hello, Heidi:

    Thanks for stopping by. Since this would be your first time, you might try the infusion with only 1 or 2 peppers for the whole bottle and see how that tastes to you. You don’t want to overdo it, depending on your palate and heat tolerance. Also, put a slit in the pepper to help the infusion process. You can also slice it into rings or pieces, but the whole peppers with slits look a bit more appealing, imo.

    I hope this helps!

  11. I had a pepper infused rum recently and I want to make it at home. I will use a fresno (or similar) for one bottle (750ml) what would be a good amount of chili’s to use – I want it to have a good bite but not so much that it overpowers. Also – should I put the pepper in whole or slice it?

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