[by Mike]

Some time ago, John sent me a site featuring some interesting tequila cocktails.  Intrigued by the concept of muddling a jalapeño, I immediately put together a Don Julio Caesar and was not disappointed.  With the seeds removed and the lime juice hiding any lingering capsaicin, the fruit flavors of the chile shined through and resonated with the tequila.

Those flavors floated around in my head until the thorough discussion of cucumber juice during our last outing to Rendezvous.  Wouldn't a well executed jalapeño juice offer all of the flavors extracted from muddling only more powerful?  After some research, I found a reasonable priced juicer online and went to work.  

I prepped about 20 chiles, using a sculpting tool to make quick work of ribs (capsaicin-rich liquid is produced in glands near the stem of the chile, and as the fruit grows it slowly flows down the interior flesh, coating the ribs and seeds with heat).  A few seconds through the whirling blades of death, the jalapeños (and a bunch of cilantro) were pulverized and I had a fresh batch of juice.  A batch of cucumber-mint juice stands in the background (two English cucumbers, including seeds and skin, with a bunch of mint).

The juices really didn't come into their own until they had been passed through cheesecloth to remove residual, gelatinous flesh (as well as much of the plant proteins that produce the head of foam after a quick shake).  By itself the jalapeño juice is too spicy to be sippable, but once the heat has been shadowed by a little bit of syrup and lime juice the fruity flavors dominate.  The cucumber juice is addictingly refreshing, and right on time for summer.

Of course, what would any of this be worth without cocktails?

The Ultraviolet Catastrophe
1.5 oz reposado tequila
0.5 oz jalapeño juice
0.5 oz lime juice
0.5 oz creme de violette
0.25 oz agave nectar
1 scant dash Angostura bitters

The addition of the bitters really rounds out the flavors, but at the expense of turning the drink an atrocious drab green.  Are there clear aromatic bitters out there?

Baron Thierry
1.5 oz reposado tequila
0.75 oz cucumber juice
0.5 oz elderflower liquor
0.25 oz lime juice
0.25 oz agave nectar
1 dash celery bitters

The name?  Taking inspiration from Misty, I went with historical: Baron Thierry was an Austrian hired by Maximillian to encourage British support of the French occupation of Mexico (I could only find one decent reference, page 195).  Not bad for a physicist, eh?

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