It always seems to arrive too soon, but summer is officially coming to a close. Not that a change in season means a whole lot for where we live. It’ll still be hot for months to come, followed by even more perfect temps, one or two cold days, then spring.
I think we can all agree that we’ve had enough weather talk in recent weeks, so let’s move on to the reason we’re all here: the cocktail.
Spicy drinks are polarizing. People seem to either love them or hate them. If you’re a loyal follower of On the Sauce, you already know I’m a fan. Also, when I say “spicy,” I’m not talking five-alarm chili type of stuff — we’re just adding a little kick, enough to tickle your tongue. In fact, when the drink’s habanero pepper is combined with the sweetness of mango juice, you don’t really get much heat. That’s why accuracy in your shake is so important. The longer you move your drink up, down and around, the more heat you extract. You want 10 seconds, 15 tops.
I’ve been on a bit of a mango spree all summer, by the way. It’s the perfect match with habanero; they’re meant for each other. You can pick up good mango juices in the international or refrigerated aisles of your neighborhood grocery store.
As far as our base liquor goes, rum is in the spotlight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if tequila works just as well. This week’s cocktail is ideally enjoyed with no distractions — just you, the booze, peace and quiet, sipping the summer away.
Summer State of Mind
2 ounces gold rum
3 ounces mango juice
Juice of half a lime
Thin slice of fresh habanero pepper (optional, but recommended)
Lime wheel, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled 3/4 with ice, add all ingredients. Shake for 10-15 seconds (shaking for too long will result in a really spicy drink). Strain cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.