It’s frigid here. Outside, ice and snow reign. Breath freezes upon exhale. Only a fool would venture out into the glacial abyss. Of course, as always, it’s us; we are the fools.
Yesterday, with grocery list in mitten, we ran to buy supplies for dinner. We gathered all of the food. Then, we wandered into the liquor section where we spent an hour browsing. When we returned home, we carried with us an assortment of bottles, including this bottle of Ancho Reyes.
The label’s smart design struck us. The concept of an ancho chile liqueur intrigued us. Most of all, we hoped that a spicy cocktail would warm our bellies and our souls on this frozen winter’s night.
We bought Ancho Reyes blind. We hadn’t done our research. When we did search the Google, we discovered that we’d struck gold. Food & Wine says, “Ancho Reyes, a chile liqueur whose reputation among cocktailians is growing rapidly. Made in Puebla, Mexico, from ancho chiles steeped in a sugar cane spirit, Ancho Reyes is spicy, smoky and sweet, delivering complex flavor in addition to heat. Up at 80 proof, it’s as potent as most liqueurs on your shelf and has the ability to stand alone in mixed drinks or mesh well with its friends tequila, rum and whiskey.”
According to the internet, which is known for its accuracy, people love Ancho Reyes. It has a cult following. Guess what? We’ll sign up too. We’ve always wanted to be a part of something.
Ancho Reyes has a piquant kick that lingers on the tongue, but the spice does not overwhelm. Instead, it melds with pleasant flavors of caramelized sugar. We found Ancho Reyes to be surprisingly drinkable by itself. We bought it to mix, though, not sip. As a cocktail ingredient, it sparkles because it is lively and versatile. A touch of heat works in almost any drink whether it be something citric, like a Paloma; creamy, like White Russian; sweet, like an Electric Lemonade; or boozy like an Old Fashioned.
We concocted and tasted several recipes. Our favorite is what we’ve dubbed an “Ancho Reyes Belly Warmer.” Be warned: it’s delicious, but it’s potent, i.e., one will do the trick.
Ancho Reyes Belly Warmer
- Four ounces of Pasote Anejo tequila
- Two ounces of Ancho Reyes
- One ounce lime juice
- Three dashes of grapefruit bitters
- One tablespoon of blue agave sweetner
- Lime peel, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Close, and shake well. Strain into two glasses. Garnish with lime peel.
Makes two servings.