Your New Favorite Tequila Is Infused with Ghost Peppers
Because margaritas are just better spicy.
By Nate Erickson
The "flavored liquor" market is fraught with peril. There's a fine line between adding a subtle hint of citrus to a favorite spirit and turning the whole thing into, say, whipped cream flavored vodka. But then there are pairings that simply seem made for one another. Like tequila and chili peppers.
That was the idea behind Ghost Tequila, which uses the extract of Bhut jolokia (a.k.a. the ghost pepper) to spice up your next sip, cocktail, or round of shots. Ghost's story began in 2011 with a bartender named Chris Moran, who was under pressure to get his customers sipping more agave spirits at a new tequila bar in Boston.
"Everybody kept coming in for Bud Lights and vodka sodas, and I thought, what do I have to do to get these people to drink tequila?" said Moran. "We had about 100 bottles behind the bar, and I started playing around with them, then I started playing around with spice."
Moran began experimenting—different peppers, tequilas, infusions, extracts—until he found something that his customers and fellow bartenders loved. But it wasn't until he saw other brands rolling out their own takes on spicy tequila that he realized he had something better in Boston. And with the help of some industry vets from places like Patrón and Beam Suntory and Tito's, Moran went down to Jalisco, Mexico to turn Ghost into a reality.
"The whole idea was to first make a fantastic tequila, and then make it spicy," said Moran.
The ghost pepper's reputation—400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce—precedes it, but don't let that scare you off: A little extract goes a long way, creating a spicy dance of chilies on your tastebuds, not a charred tongue and forehead beaded with sweat. And while the spice offers a formidable kick, it doesn't overpower the spirit, allowing the natural sweetness of the blue agave to come through in each sip. The final result is a smooth-drinking tequila that's as easy to shoot as it is to mix into your next margarita.
And at around $30 a bottle, it won't burn your wallet up, either. We'll drink to that.