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Three “Red Hot” Classic Cocktails

Head Outdoors & Keep Cool with Red Hot Updates to Three Classic Cocktails

As the mercury rises across the country, it’s time to take the entertaining outside. And while there’s noting better than relaxing in the backyard with a cocktail and some friends, who wants to be trotting back and forth to the kitchen to keep those drinks flowing?
This summer, be the “mixologist with the most-est with an outdoor kitchen complete with well-stocked bar. Delight your friends and keep surprisingly cool with these spicy party cocktails made with red-hot chili peppers.
A Burning Desire
If you love the heat of jalapeño, or the 5-alarm flame of habañero peppers, then these spicy hot cocktail recipes will leave you breathless. For those who want to dabble in the classics, update your “go-to cocktail with a piquant zing – but pace yourselves. Alcohol intensifies the heat of the peppers, so it’s best to start slow and build up to the bon-fire.
Don’t limit your mixology to fresh peppers, try your favorite hot sauces and rimming salts from Tajin to Sriracha – or perhaps one of your own hot concoctions. Or, keep it simple and just make your favorites with pepper-infused spirits like Absolut Peppar.
For the truly intrepid, try making your own chili-pepper infusions! Think of it like a fine single malt Scotch – single pepper infusions for the pepper purist, or mix and match for a hot flavor fireworks blend. It’s easy – and you control the heat.
These spicy party cocktails enjoy the outdoors as much as you do, so take the pepper party to the patio.
Fire extinguisher optional.
Hot & Dirty Martini
Ok, they had us at the name. If you like your martinis a little on the dirty side, you’ll love it with a hot, firecracker finish.
Burn Factor:  From a smolder to a burn. Beware.

  • 3oz. Pepper vodka (Absolut Peppar, or make your own infusion)
  • ½oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1tsp Olive brine/juice
  • 3 Jalapeño stuffed olives
  • 1 pickled Jalapeno

How to Prepare

  1. Pour vodka, vermouth and olive brine into a cocktail shaker half filled with cracked or chipped ice.
  2. Give it a lusty shake, then strain into chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with jalapeno stuffed olives (1 – 3, or however dirty you want to get) and a slice of pickled jalapeno pepper.

Mary Juniper
Don’t let the benign, tree-hugging moniker fool you—this is one hot bloody Mary. Mary Juniper smolders with heat from Sriracha and Tapatio, and might not be the “hangover cure all we rely upon.
Burn Factor: Slow simmer or a fiery flame, finished with a warm afterglow.

  • 2oz. Crater Lake Gin
  • 4oz. Tomato juice
  • 1/2oz. Demetris Bloody Mary Spice Blend
  • Splash Sriracha and Tapatio pepper sauce
  • Jalapeño stuffed olives
  • Kosher salt (for rimming glasses) substitute Tajin for an even bloodier Mary
  • Celery
  • Lime wedges

How to Prepare

  1. Rim four glasses with kosher salt (or Tajin)
  2. Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker over cracked ice. Go ahead do a little jig.
  3. Pour contents, including ice, into salt-rimmed glasses
  4. Garnish with olives, celery and finish with a squeeze of lime

Dia De Los Muertos Margarita
There’s some prep time involved in this habañero and pineapple infused tequila drink, but for the serious heat lovers out there, it’s worth it. This DIY infusion is sure to wake the dead, and well worth the wait. Not for the faint of heart, this cocktail can be deadly – so, start with small doses of infusion and build up to a funeral pyre.
Burn Factor: High to Holy Smokes (not for the nascent pepper appreciator).

  • 3oz. Habañero-pineapple infused tequila (see recipe below)
  • 2oz. Triple Sec
  • 4oz. Pineapple juice – fresh is best
  • 1 lime, freshly squeezed (at finish)
  • 1/8 cup Tajin to edge glass
  • Pineapple wedge and lime wheels to garnish


  • 2 – 4 Habañero peppers, chopped (retain seeds – this is where the heat is)
  • ¼ Pineapple, cored, cleaned and chopped
  • 8 – 12oz. Tequila
  1. Add chopped peppers and pineapple to clean and sterilized mason jar.
  2. Pour tequila over chopped ingredients until covered, cap, and place in your refrigerator for two to three days to steep.

When ready to mix, taste first! If too strong, dilute with fresh tequila to taste.
 How to Prepare

  1. Wet the rim of four “Old Fashion glasses with lime juice, then rim edge with Tajin to taste.
  2. Fill with ice then squeeze juice from fresh lime equally into all.
  3. Pour mixture from the jar through a strainer and mix well – or pour directly into glass and let the heat continue (Ay caramba!)
  4. Garnish with cut pineapple and toast your friends – living and dead.

If You Can’t Take the Heat
These peppery cocktail classics are the perfect remedy to summer’s scorching temperatures. Peppers make you sweat, which then evaporates and cools you off. HA! As if we needed another reason to sit outside with an ice cold cocktail.
The Scorch is in the Seed
The pepper’s seeds hold the heat secret. If you like your spice at flamethrower temps, leave the seeds in the infusion. If, not, scoop ‘em out and discard. Pair with sweet fruits or mixers to offset the burn. Remember – always wear disposable gloves when handling peppers – the oils can stay on your skin for hours. This will keep the heat in your drinks, and not in your eyes.
And, always, ALWAYS drink responsibly. Please designate a driver and don’t let friends drive impaired.