With its body-and-soul warming chili lift, it's also the perfect tipple with which to toast the end of summer and the arrival of autumn. “I wanted to create a drink that was fresh with a bit of a kick to it”, says its inventor, Le Sirenuse’s head barman Roberto Pane, adding that “it’s vivacious, but it’s also meditative”. Pane declares himself “super pleased” with the final result, which he characterizes as “spicy and captivating, just the thing to unwind with before dinner after a long day outside”.
1 jigger (45ml, 1½ oz) chili-infused vodka
½ jigger (22ml, ¾ oz) lemon juice
1 tablespoon (11ml, ⅜ oz) Green Chartreuse
1 tablespoon (11ml, ⅜ oz) sugar
Tonic water to top up
A sprig of fennel
A wedge of lime
First, make your chili-infused vodka. Roberto does this by taking around 6g (0.2 oz) of the classic red dried peperoncino flakes that are used in southern Italian cooking, putting them in a jar with the contents of a 70cl bottle of vodka, and letting them infuse for around three hours (giving the infusion a shake halfway through is optional).
Chilis can vary a lot in intensity so if you suspect yours are on the hot side, taste the infusion after an hour or so. When the strength is to your taste, decant the liquid into your chosen receptacle through a filter. Roberto uses a paper coffee filter to make sure every grain of chili is removed.
To make the cocktail, pour all ingredients except the tonic water into a cocktail shaker with some ice and shake vigorously to dissolve the sugar. Place a large ice cube in a tumbler, pour in the contents of the shaker, and top up with tonic water. Decorate with the fennel sprig and a thin wedge of lime that you have seared on both sides with a culinary blowtorch. Sip meditatively, and light your inner fire.
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