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May 12, 2013 01:28 PM

Hot chile and cool cucumber in a cocktail -- AWESOME!

I'm a stranger to the cocktail scene, but last night I had an opportunity to order a cocktail called a "Poquito Picante" at a restaurant in NYC, and now I'd love to be able to replicate it. On the menu it's described as "...a gin-based drink, which blends Cointreau infused with jalapeño skins, cilantro, cucumber, simple syrup and freshly squeezed lemon juice."

So the list of ingredients is a start, but I'm hoping that someone with mixology skills can help me develop an actual recipe for a similar drink that combines the heat of a chile pepper with the coolness of cucumber. Thanks!

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  1. It would be far easier to call the restaurant and ask for the recipe. They will almost always give it out freely.

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      1. Welcome to the cocktail scene. Have fun. By the way, cucumber and jalapeno were really big 8-10 years ago. Now I've gotten to the point that I hate either in my cocktails because the two were so over used. There was a point where cucumber was in so many cocktails.

        8 Replies
        1. re: JMF

          Wow, Jonathan, feeling a bit haughty today?

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Didn't mean to come off that way. Some times things you write, don't read as well when you take a second look. I think I'm too immersed in cocktails lately... I even dream about them almost every night.

          2. re: JMF

            The cuke/jalapeno combination is new to me, so even if it's so "yesterday," I'm liking it.

            If I wanted to drink something that's more "in" today, what would it be?

            1. re: CindyJ

              Sorry I came off flippant yesterday. What are some of your favorite fruits? Spirits and liqueurs? Do you like sweet? Sour? Bitter? Strong spirits? Complex? Simple? Then I'm sure we can come up with some good suggestions and recipes.

              You are lucky to live in NYC. I'm just outside of town and am in the City several times a week. The craft cocktail scene is some of the best in the world. Go try some of these top places. In the East Village go to Death & Co. on 6th St., PDT on St. Marks, Evelyn at 171 Ave C, and Pouring Ribbons. Macondo on Houston and Allen. Employee's Only in the West Village. Dead Rabbit down on Water Street by the Staten Island ferry. JBird uptown on 75 St. (not the mid-town location), The Tippler at Chelsea Market. In Brooklyn not to be missed is Clover Club on Smith St. in Cobble Hill, and Dram in Williamsburg. In Queens in LIC is Dutch Kills.

              There are different subsets to the cocktail trend in different parts of the US and world. The basic foundation is the Classics and Vintage cocktails. Well executed versions of the best cocktails from the 1860's to1940's using top quality ingredients. Drinks made with quality ingredients is key. Also precision in duplicating the recipe. There are many bad versions of great cocktail recipes out there. Some simple but outstanding cocktails like the Manhattan, Sazerac, Vieux Carre, Sidecar, Margarita, Daiquiri, Gimlet (made with fresh lime juice), Negroni, Whiskey or Pisco Sour, Ramos Gin Fizz, Corpse Reviver #2, French 75, etc. Then you have new riffs on the classics where one ingredient is changed, either to something else that is similar, or taking it in a different direction. I love the Classics, and also taking them in new directions.

              Vintage Tiki drinks from the 1930's-1960's and riffs on them have been in vogue in some areas for the past ten years. Mai Tai, Painkiller, Zombie, Fogcutter. I love these and work with them a lot.

              Then there are the Molecular/Modernists using science and lab techniques. Making gels, foams, clarifying cloudy ingredients to clear. Lots of fun and head games, but some take getting used to.

              And you have the Nouveau clique using new and unusual ingredients, fresh fruits and vegetables, home made syrups, etc. The jalepeno and cucumber cocktails fall into this area. These can be great, or total chaos... I've spent time working on many of these.

              For actual recipes...

              Mr. Yarm who contributes here has a great cocktail website.

              As does EvergreenDan

              1. re: JMF

                A thoughtful reply, JMF.

                I might add that cocktails that are out-of-favor can still be great to someone who wasn't active in the scene at the time. Unless you consider cocktails to be like fashion -- where being seen is important -- drink what you like. A cucumber-chili-cilantro gin sour would be just as exciting to you as it was to someone in the cocktail scene when it was popular.

                Another good example is St Germain elderflower liqueur. It hit the market and was used everywhere. Some called it "bartender's ketchup." Now trendsetters are tired of it. But a cocktail like the Bitter Elder or St Germain French 75 is still just as ethereal today as when it was created a few years ago.

       | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                1. re: EvergreenDan

                  Interesting that you should mention St. Germain elderflower liquor, Evergreen Dan. It's on the top of my shopping list for my next trip to the liquor store. I don't think I've ever tasted it, but since I began Googling for cocktail ideas earlier this week, I've noticed it as a frequent ingredient and I'm intrigued.

                  BTW, I emailed Yerba Buena, where I had the Poquito Picante, to ask for their recipe. So far, no reply.

                2. re: JMF

                  It's quite likely that the reason I'm a stranger to the cocktail scene is that I DON'T live in NYC. My daughter lives in the LES and we were visiting last weekend. I've been living a sheltered life here in Philadelphia's western suburbs.

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    Sorry, I assumed because you mentioned a restaurant in NYC that you lived here. You have to visit your daughter more often. ;-)>

                    In Philadelphia there are several really good cocktail bars. The Franklin Mortgage and Investment company comes to mind right away. Here's a link to some of the best. I haven't been to any yet, but a friend just took over as bar manager at one and I'm going to go visit in a few weeks and do a several day bar crawl seeking the best cocktails.