Now we all know that Chilli and Alcohol go together very well, and there have been a fair few alcohol based products in recent years, Chilli Sambuca, Chilli Cider and Chilli Vodka. Now comes the turn of a more refined tipple, a Chilli Liqueur from RubyBlue, made by the Hughes family in Northern Ireland. Now at this point, I have to admit I am not a connoisseur when it comes to spirits but I am reliably informed that the company has used real fruits, Irish Grain Spirit and a “little magic” to create something special. In fact the bottle contains two Thai Chillies.
An alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit that has been flavoured with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers or nuts and bottled with added sugar or other sweetener
I was intrigued by this bottle as soon as it was delivered, a 350ml tall thin bottle with a cork and a see through label, the liquid is a rich red colour with two of the fresh chillies floating inside. Obviously this type of alcohol is not designed to sipped neat, it should form an ingredient in other drinks and foods. But where do I start?
The family discovered an old recipe for preserving berries, combined with that aforementioned Irish Grain Spirit which gets distilled 5 times and filtered through charcoal to produce a very clean taste.
They have a range of 4 fruit based Liqueurs, a Blackcurrant, 3 whole berry, Wild Blueberry and now the Whole Chilli Pepper version.
Fortunately the company supplies many different serving suggestions for their award winning product, and I have chosen the “Bloody Ruby”, a fresh take on the traditional tomato juice based beverage, replacing the usual vodka with the Chilli Liqueur and adding Worcester Sauce, Celery Salt, and Lemon Juice. This does really work and creates a sweeter version, the Chilli comes through nicely but does not overpower the other flavours.
And hot off the press, the company has just been given 4 new awards for their Craft Liqueurs by The Liqueur Masters 2013
At Origin 350ml liqueur, 20g whole chilli peppers
Bottle kindly supplied by Spirited Drinks Ltd
Another serving suggestion is to make your own chilli ice cream. Luckily we have a basic ice cream maker in the back of the cupboard, the recipe asks for a decent glug of the Liqueur, double cream, milk, icing sugar and some dried chilli flakes. Once mixed and frozen for four hours the slightly pink creamy mixture is ready to taste and it is delicious.
The liqueur has a very clean taste to it, the chilli heat gives a nice warming but never overpowers and the more you dilute with other ingredients the weaker it becomes. Last night I put a splash in my cider and it lifted the flavours and gave a lovely warming feeling on a cold wet night.
So if you are looking for something to add a little chilli goodness to the festive drinks cabinet this Christmas, this is certainly worth a look.