Homemade Spicy Jalapeño Simple Syrup for Cocktails

David Brenner's Epice Sidecar Cocktail Recipe with jalapeno syrup
Lauri Patterson / E+ / Getty Images
  • Total: 28 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 3 mins
  • Yield: 1 Cocktail (1Serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
108 Calories
0g Fat
28g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 Cocktail (1Serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 26mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Spicy and sweet in a single ingredient, jalapeño pepper syrup is a fantastic way to heat up your favorite cocktails. This homemade simple syrup is very easy to make and can be adjusted to be as spicy as you like.

This particular recipe uses either turbinado or demerara sugar, two types of raw sugar. They have a richer flavor than standard white sugar, which makes them an ideal foundation against the spice of chile peppers.

Also, to combat the spice of the jalapeño, this is a rich simple syrup, meaning it uses twice as much sugar as water. By keeping the ratio sweeter and using the darker sugars, the syrup is not as spicy as you might think and that is why it's perfect for drinks.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups turbinado sugar (or demerara)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (fresh; rinsed and sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved.

  3. Add the jalapeño slices to the pan.

  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

  5. Remove from the heat and let the syrup steep for 20 minutes.

  6. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove all of the pepper.

  7. Store in a sealed container; it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Mix into drinks and enjoy!

Tips

  • When experimenting, you might want to scale the recipe down. Use 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water, and 1 pepper to get 1/2 cup of syrup.
  • You can also use regular brown sugar (turbinado and demerara are both brown in color) if you like. If that's too sweet, split it up and use equal parts of brown and white sugars.

Adjusting the Spice

When making drinks with hot peppers, it's important to remember that less can be more. If you create a syrup that is too spicy, even the sweetest drinks with the most flavorful mixers can become too hot to enjoy.

More than any other homemade simple syrup, you need to test this syrup throughout the process. As soon as the syrup reaches your desired flavor, strain out the peppers.

The capsaicin of chile peppers (the part that produces the most heat) is primarily held in the white flesh inside the pepper. If you expose this to the syrup, it will produce a spicier syrup.

  • For a milder syrup, don't cut the pepper. Simply place it whole in the syrup. The infusion may take a little longer but will be more savory than spicy.

  • If you want more heat, slice the peppers as directed in the recipe.

  • Some pepper varieties are hotter than others and even two jalapeños can vary from one another. Even if you make this syrup twenty times, you will need to test the spiciness throughout for each batch.

Jalapeño Syrup Cocktails

Jalapeño syrup is an intriguing cocktail ingredient with many possibilities. You'll find some drink recipes that call for it specifically, but it's also something you'll want to experiment with on your own.

Pineapple is a perfect pairing for jalapeños, and the two are often found together:

  • The épicé sidecar was created by David Brenner of New York. It adds the spicy syrup and pineapple to the classic sidecar for a fascinating twist. To make it, shake 1 1/2 ounces Cognac, 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice, 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1/4 ounce jalapeño simple syrup with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed halfway around with raw sugar.
  • In the spicy pineapple shandy, jalapeño syrup is paired with tequila, lemon and pineapple juices, and a pale ale beer for a refreshing summer drink.
  • This creative pineapple jalapeño margarita recipe adds lime juice to the syrup. It rims the glass with sea salt, sugar, and smoked paprika and garnishes the cocktail with a candied jalapeño.

Other cocktails to consider include adding a spicy sweetness to a tequini or margarita. It's also an interesting addition to the gin-based hair of the dog recipe. Warm apple cider infused with cinnamon and sweetened with jalapeño syrup can be delicious as well. Spike it with rum, tequila, vodka, or whiskey.

If you're feeling adventurous, pair the spice with chocolate in a chocolate martini or with heavily-flavored fruits like pomegranate. For a nonalcoholic drink, use this syrup in homemade lemonade (lemons are another great jalapeño pairing).