That's a spicy mocktail!
May 29, 2012 8:52 AM   Subscribe

What beverages can I make with Bittermen's Hellfire Habanero Shrub? Complications: cannot use alcohol or tomato juice.

My husband has had to cut way back on his drinking, due to a medication he takes that is already kind of bad for his liver. In an effort to replace the daily glass or two of wine or beer with something non-alcoholic, a friend got us a Sodastream and a whole bunch of interesting syrups and flavorings. One of them is a bottle of the aforementioned habanero shrub, which is basically an infusion of hot peppers into vinegar.

My husband LOVES spicy things, so this is great, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to best use it. I made him chili limeade -- lime juice, simple, hellfire, and seltzer -- and it was a hit, but I want to expand my repetoire a bit. Part of the problem is that he absolutely cannot abide tomato juice or anything like tomato juice, so any variation on a Bloody or Virgin mary is out. Searching for recipes online yields lots of boozy cocktails, but those are beside the point. Help me put the heat in his non-alcoholic drink!
posted by KathrynT to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Most tropical flavors go well with spicy notes. I'd try mango juice, a tiny bit of lime, and seltzer kicked up with the Shrub.

I might also try strawberry puree with seltzer or tonic and a little heat.
posted by advicepig at 9:11 AM on May 29, 2012

Best answer: You might try whizzing some strawberries in a blender with sugar, then mixing the syrupy result with seltzer and the habanero stuff. I think strawberry and chile is an especially perfect combination.
posted by neroli at 9:13 AM on May 29, 2012

Best answer: This is a different spicy syrup (and it's chipotle, which I realize is a different type of heat), but it's incredibly delicious, and I highly recommend it. It's really good with pineapple juice + seltzer, which leads me to believe that experimenting with your syrup and pineapple juice might be good.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:17 AM on May 29, 2012

Best answer: The local ice cream bar does a chocolate phosphate with hellfire tincture that is amazing, and would be pretty easy to recreate with chocolate syrup, soda water, and optionally a bit of dairy.
posted by judith at 9:46 AM on May 29, 2012

Some flavors that might go, based on agua frescas I've seen sold in Mexico:

orange ade
cucumber water
pineapple ade

The vinegar should go a good way toward cutting the heat, but any of those would work. You might also consider making a michelada with a NA beer.
posted by Gilbert at 9:47 AM on May 29, 2012

I had the Scandi Gibson at Amor y Amargo. It was a bit spicy for my taste but perhaps not for your husband's!

(from Amor's website: Scandi Gibson ($12) - Like liquid rye bread - Aquavit, Cocchi Americano, Bittermens Orchard St. Celery Shrub & Hellre Shrub)
posted by mlle valentine at 9:49 AM on May 29, 2012

Oops, sorry, I totally misread your question. Please disregard.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:50 AM on May 29, 2012

Best answer: I've enjoyed Trader Joe's Chili-Lime-Mango fruit bars (popsicles). Dried mango with chili powder is delicious. Thus, I'd suggest mango nectar (can be bought in cans) with a bit of heat, taste, and add lime to "perk it up" a bit; add seltzer to tone down the smoothie-like sensation of drinking mango nectar. Otherwise, buy a bag of frozen mango chunks, and whirl up in the blender (with lime, juice, shrub, possibly yoghurt) for an awesome icy hot smoothie.
posted by aimedwander at 9:54 AM on May 29, 2012

How about hot chocolate, topped with some cinnamon? Or you could chill it for more of a spicy chocolate milk beverage. It sounds like it could be good in horchata or agua de jamaica.
posted by radioaction at 11:19 AM on May 29, 2012

Yeah, pineapple is good with chili on top, so I bet pineapple juice would be great.
posted by teragram at 11:22 AM on May 29, 2012

Response by poster: Wonderful answers all! The tropical angle is obvious in hindsight, as is the chocolate, but it genuinely hadn't occurred to me. My beloved husband is now drinking a Chocolate Fizz Diablo, which name I made up as I was handing it to him, while playing video games and periodically hollering out "You are the best wife ever!"
posted by KathrynT at 9:22 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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