A spike of spice and an exuberant shade of orange distinguish bartender Jeff Wolf’s spirited summer highball at the Boat House in Tiverton. The Sergeant Peppers cocktail is a clever play on the flavor profile of the margarita, a cocktail rooted in Mexico in the 1930s, popularized by American tourists. Wolf swaps reposado tequila aged in new oak barrels for the traditional silver tequila base, tangy red bell pepper juice for lime, and sweetens with a drizzle of agave nectar.
Reposado tequila imparts notes of grilled pineapple and caramel constituting the buttery vanilla backbone of the cocktail. The clean heat of Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub (a hot sauce specifically designed for cocktails) piques the rich floral acidity of the red bell pepper juice and the bold citrus tones of the garnish, a feathery stalk of cilantro. Sip one at sunset over the Bay to experience a sublime summer combination.
Willa Van Nostrand is an award-winning mixologist and beverage consultant. She owns Little Bitte Artisanal Cocktails. Visit her at LittleBitte.com.
Visit Here’s How! at EdibleRhody.com for the Paradise Shandy and Rosa Rugosa Lemonade, two summer cocktails to get the party started!
Jeff Wolf, Bartender, Boat House, Tiverton
Try juicing red, orange, yellow and green bell pepper varieties for psychedelic summertime hues.
2 ounces reposado tequila (100% blue agave)
1 1/2 ounces fresh red bell pepper juice*
1/2 ounce agave nectar
2 drops of Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
1 sprig of fresh cilantro
Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously with ice for 10 seconds. Strain into highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a bright green sprig of cilantro. Yields 1 cocktail.
* Core, seed and slice 1 red bell pepper. Juice pepper (or purée in a blender). Fine-strain juice into a clean bottle, discarding pulp. Best if used immediately, otherwise refrigerate several hours.