Fans of Ancho Reyes know that the liqueur is sort of like the Sriracha of cocktail ingredients: it instantly ups the ante (and the Scoville factor) on drinks with its smoke, spice and subtle sweetness. (And, much like Sriracha, it seems to have quite the dedicated cult following among bartenders and cocktail lovers.) Now, dedicated fans of the liqueur are about to have a new toy to play with: Ancho Reyes Verde.
The limited-edition bottling actually uses the same foundational ingredient as Ancho Reyes’ eponymous smoky liqueur: the poblano chile. In this iteration, though, the flavor experience is totally different — the liqueur is bright, peppery, herbaceous, and… well, green. It’s akin to biting into a raw pepper fresh from the garden, as opposed to the smoky sweet heat of a roasted chile.
As ardent fans of the spicy cocktail, we’ve been closely following the news about this product ever since we first spotted whisperings of it on social media in June, when agave expert and Ancho Reyes cofounder Ivan Saldana snapped a photo of the bottle at Edinburgh’s landmark cocktail bar, Bramble. Earlier this year, Saldana (who was born in Guadalajara and also founded Montelobos Mezcal) told Imbibe that “Ancho Reyes is extraordinary because it is capable of transmitting, in the purest form, what chiles are.” This latest project just seems to be a natural step for Saldana and Ancho Reyes as they spread the gospel of chile peppers to bars far beyond Mexico.
If you happened to be at William Grant and Sons’ “Party on Your Palate” at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, you may be part of the exclusive club who’s already tried it: Ancho Reyes unofficially debuted the product in a bright, peppery cocktail at the event. If not, you hopefully won’t have to wait too long: Verde will make its market debut in the New York metro area this September.
‘Til then, you can always slake your chile-thirst with a few of our favorite Ancho Reyes cocktail recipes:
Diablo Mango Mule
Kimber Weissert, head bartender of Wallace’s Taproom in Pittsburgh, PA., built this cocktail as homage to a beloved treat from her childhood: dried chile mango pieces. “When I was a child, a family friend would bring dried chili mango back after traveling to Mexico and it was always a treat,” she says. “Why not make a favorite childhood treat into a fantastic cocktail?” We couldn’t agree more.
- 1 1/2 oz Montelobos Mezcal
- 1 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
- 1 oz Perfect Purée Mango Purée
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 5 dash Hella Bitters Smoked Chili Bitters
- Barritt’s Ginger Beer
- In shaker, combine mezcal, Ancho Reyes, mango purée, lime juice and bitters. Add ice and shake. Strain to Moscow mule mug, add fresh ice, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with dried chili mango piece rolled into rose with 2 small lime peels as leaves on cocktail pin.
Working for the Weekend
“I’ve always loved the idea of the Kentucky Mule, but have never really honestly loved bourbon and lime together. I was so excited to use the bitter-lemon soda and eliminate extra citrus through the use of a tart shrub syrup! A little extra spice was all it needed, and I gathered that from a hint of ancho chili and a little peppery Averna finish.” — Rose Tosti, bartender at The Gerald (Seattle, Washington).
- 1 1/2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
- 1/2 oz Shrub & Co. Spicy Ginger Shrub
- 1/4 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
- 1/4 oz Averna
- Fever Tree Bitter Lemon Soda
- Candied ginger
- Shake bourbon, shrub, and Ancho Reyes together with ice until cold. Strain into rocks glass, add ice, top with Fever-Tree “Bitter Lemon” soda, and finish with .25 ounce Averna float on top (Averna will sink and mix without extra agitation). Garnish with candied ginger.
“Tales of the Cocktail, itself, was my inspiration,” says Dawn Heidermann of The NoMad in New York City. “The ingredients bring together New Orleans and Mexico, where Tales on Tour took place for the past two years. The Montelobos and Ancho Reyes, of course, from Mexico and the St George NOLA Coffee Liqueur which pays homage to New Orleans.” For Heidermann, the name of her mule submission is also significant. “The name, La Cima, means top or the peak of a mountain. This name is significant because Montelobos means mountain of wolves and I feel those of us at Tales are at the peak of our industry or, at least, we’re trying to get there.”
- 1 1/2 oz Montelobos Mezcal Joven
- 3/4 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
- 3/4 oz St George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz spicy ginger syrup (equal parts fresh ginger juice and turbinado sugar)
- 1/4 oz honey syrup (2:1 ratio clover honey and water)
- 1 oz club soda
- Combine all ingredients except the club soda into a tin, shake, double strain into glass with ice, top with soda. To garnish, put a straw in the drink. Then use a zester and put dark chocolate shavings on top of the drink. Heidermann uses 72% cacao, but any high quality dark chocolate will work.
Kickin’ Ass Mule
Brian Klemm of Bico’s Hospitality in Pasadena, California channeled the subtle kick of traditional mules and bucks and gave it a little more heat. “I wanted to create something that hits you hard, almost overwhelmingly, and then fades to something different,” says Klemm. “The olive oil creates not only a viscosity and mouthfeel that is essential to the cocktail, it also helps to smooth out the heat from the Habanero infused Cacao Rum. The ginger shrub definitely lends the cocktail an acidity and brightness while the chocolate and olive oil help to round everything out.”
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/4 oz olive oil
- 1/2 oz Shrub & Co. Ginger Shrub
- 1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
- 1/4 oz Liquid Alchemist Ginger Syrup
- 1 1/2 oz habanero infused Selvarey Cacao Rum
- habanero pepper
- lime wheel
- Add lime juice, olive oil, ginger shrub, ginger syrup, Ancho Reyes and infused rum to shaker tin. Dry shake, add ice and toss. Splash Q Ginger Beer in tin and strain over ice and habanero pepper. Top with additional Q Ginger Beer. Garnish with a habanero pepper and a lime wheel.
To make habanero infused cacao rum: (Ratio: 5 habanero chiles per 750 ml of Selvarey Cacao.) Chop habanero chile and add to rum and stir. Let sit and begin tasting at 5 minutes. Continue to taste till desired heat. Strain.
The Khing and I
Inspired by creator Jason Rager’s love of Thai tea, this cocktail features balanced flavors of Thailand with the traditional elements of a Moscow Mule. “By replacing the typical modifiers (white sugar and condensed milk) with some spicy Ancho Reyes and Giffard Ginger (Khing is Thai for ginger, get it?) I feel it balances the whole thing out,” says Rager. “Using rum was the obvious base, as few things have traveled the globe as heavily. From Moscow to Siam, New Orleans and back again.”
- 1 3/4 oz Sweet Thai Pusser’s Rum
- 3/4 oz Giffard’s Ginger of the Indies Liqueur
- 1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
- 1/2 oz heavy cream
- 3/4 oz egg whites
- 1/2 oz soda water
- Mix all ingredients into shaker tin. Dry shake. Wet shake. Add soda and pour through a fine strainer into glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
To make Sweet Thai Pusser’s: For every quart of Pusser’s Rum Original Admiralty Blend, add 2 ounces (volume, you can just fill the large side of a Japanese 2:1) of Thai tea powder. Stir, then let sit for 24 hours. Strain off and you’re ready for action.