A couple of weekends ago I welcomed in the fall the way I welcome in every other event in my life, from the exciting (new job!) to the mundane (new dust bunnies!) by going to a bar. The bar in question was Rye House because it’s the only decent place to get a real cocktail around Union Square. Don’t say Flat Iron. It’s not worth it.
It was a crisp, darkening, mildly damp day. Perfect bar weather. I popped into Rye House, slunk onto a stool at the large, mostly empty marble bar and interrupted the bartender’s dinner. She wasn’t too miffed and handed me a menu. But then promptly said some of my favorite words, “We can always just come up with something off the menu.” I closed the menu. “Let’s do that.” Every time I am lucky enough to come across a talented and willing bartender I will usually begin with the same request: a spicy drink. “I make a great Caipirinha,” she said, ignoring my request but in such a pleasantly enthusiastic way that I didn't mind. (A Caipirinha is a Brazillian Cachaça-based drink). “Can you make it a spicy Caipirinha?” I asked, bringing my request back to the forefront. And she agreed. What happened next was a series of experiments with Tabasco and searches for fresh Jalapeños. What resulted from the hard work of the plucky bartendress was a perfect Caipirnha with the slow burn of an added dose of fresh Jalapeño puree, made in-house. It was the ideal salute farewell to a sweaty summer.
Spicy Caipirinha (inspired by Rye House)
Two ounces Leblon Cachaça
Two lime wedges sliced into quarters plus a slice to garnish
Two teaspoons sugar
Three rings of jalapeño (or as much as you can take) with seeds
Muddle the lime, sugar and jalapeño in the bottom of a collins glass (or the glass you are going to use if it is sturdy glass) thoroughly. Add the cachaça and stir together. Pour into a glass with ice. Garnish with lime. Enjoy the spiciness deliciousness while reminiscing over hilarious summer antics.