Summer may be officially over in my part of the world, but someone forgot to tell the weather. After a week of rain and cold, we've been blessed once again with gorgeous blue skies and warm evenings. So, I'm ignoring the calendar, and clinging to my last bit of deck time with a little cocktail that is perfect for any sunny day... Chile Limeade. It's a punch and a half, with the tartness of the limes and the bite of red jalape?É¬±os eased just slightly by a honey infused simple syrup and spiked with the liquor of your choice. The original recipe I found called for Campari, which would give even more depth to the citrusy flavors, but I decided to go a more mellow route and used a dark Rum (specifically Ron Facapa Centenario from Guatemala). Tequila or vodka would also work well with the lime and chile flavors. The beauty of this drink is that the limeade is completely made before adding any alcohol, so it's easy to customize for individual tastes or even leave out the liquor for the one who will be driving.
Here's another neat idea: you can serve the limeade as an ap?É¬©ritif for sipping in hollowed out limes. To make the lime cups, simply cut off just the top 1/4 of the lime discarding the small piece. Carefully make two slices in an X through the center of the limes. Insert a spoon into the slot you created, and slowly turn the lime around the spoon (catching the juices as they come out. When you've gotten most of the juice out, use a pair of small cuticle scissors to remove the remaining pulp. Freeze the lime shells for about an hour to firm them up. Serve on a tray of crushed ice (it will help the lime cups stay upright as well as keeping them cool).
(adapted from Dishing with Style by Rori Trovato)
1 part fresh lime juice
2 parts water
1/2 part casters sugar
1/2 part honey
1 red jalape?É¬±o or serrano chile, cut into thin rounds
1 part Campari, Rum, Tequila or Vodka (optional)
In a saucepan, mix the sugar, honey and water over high heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir the mixture continuously for about 4 minutes over the high heat to reduce slightly. Remove the syrup from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Lightly muddle 1/4 of the chile, and add to the lime juice. Add another 1/4 of the chile unmuddled. Then, add the lime juice to the cooled sugar mixture, stir, cover and refrigerate. The longer you refrigerate, the more heat you'll get from the chiles. You can let it sit for up to two days, but be careful drinking it at that point!
To serve, fill a highball or juice glass with ice cubes, and add the liquor of your choice topped with the limeade, in a 2 (or 3) to 1 ratio of limeade to liquor. If using the lime cups, mix the liquor and limeade together in a pitcher of ice and then serve.