The Rope Climb--Avua Cachaca, Yellow Chartreuse, Celery, Ancho Reyes Verde, Citrus, Soda--at Renee Erickson's new bar Deep Dive in the Amazon Spheres. (Genna Martin, (Photo by Genna Martin/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
How To Use Ancho Reyes Liqueur To Get A Spicy Cocktail Twist
By Elizabeth Thorn
Ancho Reyes liqueur is made with a 55% ABV cane spirit from Veracruz, Mexico, infused with sun-dried ancho chiles for six months to yield bold smoky, sweet, and spicy flavors.
During this process, the peppers blend with the cane spirit, yielding robust flavors of caramelized peppers, cinnamon, tamarind candies, and cacao.
Ancho Reyes's heat isn't overwhelming, which can often be the case in cocktails. Instead, it adds a tingle to the palate without causing you to break out into a sweat.
Bartender Simone Goldberg says, "If you're using jalapeño, upfront, you get that immediate spiciness," whereas Ancho Reyes gives "more of a subtle finish to a drink."
The brand also offers a Verde option that uses fire-roasted poblano chiles for a resulting spirit with more freshness and vegetal qualities than the ancho chile-based version.
To add some fire to a sweeter cocktail, simply swap out the sugar component for some Ancho Reyes. To mix up the classics, pour in just a splash of the liqueur to add a spicy edge.
You can also swap out hot sauce for Ancho Reyes in a Michelada or use it as a Tabasco substitute in a bloody mary recipe so that the liqueur tempers the drink's acidity.