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These spicy and sophisticated local cocktails will keep you warm this winter

These spicy and sophisticated local cocktails will keep you warm this winter

Melinda Green

While we love a good spicy margarita from time to time, there are also occasions when we want to class things up, while still keeping it spicy. Well, that’s what we’re bringing you: premium cocktails that pack tons of flavor with a decent punch of heat.

So while these drinks might not bring the searing heat of ultra-hot peppers or finish-this-dish-in-five-minutes-without-water challenges, we’ve balanced things out by leaning into our sophisticated side, bringing you local cocktails that are both sassy and classy. 

If you’re craving complexity, head to Rooh for a Mango Mule. Don’t let the name deceive you—this is no everyday concoction in a copper cup. Made with mango murabba (preserves), chat masala, and Indian chili powder, it’s a mule rich with heat, curry spice, and a generous slab of mango garnish. It’s a treat for the eyes, as well, served in a ceramic cup whose golden stripe matching the drink inside. 


But maybe you want something more conventional. Try an Up Your Alley at Rye River Social.The Luxardo cherry and sweet vermouth say “Manhattan,” but the smoky Mezcal and green chile vodka say something else entirely. It’s fairly mild, but it still brings a bite along with its intriguing mix of flavors.

Or warm up with a Fireside Chat at DENMARK. It’s not on the winter menu, but something similar is still a possibility as a custom request—spicy, smoky, sweet, and truly reminiscent of a cozy evening around the fire (or the radio, as history would have it).

For an adventure, go for a Nada Mangonada at The Bar at Echo Spirits. It’s a high-end tequila mango slushy, whose straw is wrapped in chile-chamoy paste, like fancy fruit leather. Let the paste slowly dissolve in the drink for a mild fire-and-ice effect, or tear off a bite for a nice sting, and douse it with the frozen drink.

Frozen drinks not your thing this time of year? While winter swirls outside, dream of summer with a Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita at Forno. More chile-pepper than cucumber, it’s sweet and vegetal, with a good lingering bite on the tongue. The lightly salted rim complements the jalapeño simple syrup and dash of cucumber bitterness.

These all prove that you don’t need to ruin a perfectly good cocktail by making it mind-numbingly spicy—the secret lies in striking that delicious, flavorful balance.

This story originally appeared in Stock & Barrel Winter 2021.

If you like this, read: Grab-and-go cocktail concept from popular Columbus bar Law Bird now open


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