Drink the Heat, It's Still August

Avoid the oven dial. Try to keep it stove top, grilled, or fresh from the market. August is not a time to pump out hot meals. Fruit, salads, and sandwiches are your allies, but cool drinks are your true friends.

I wanted to make good out of the .8 lbs of jalapeno peppers from my CSA. I plan on roasting and canning some next month. I did slice up 4 peppers for these experimental beverages:

Ava's Jalapeno Infused Vodka

1 750 ml bottle of vodka
(needs not be expensive)
2 jalapeno peppers, quartered length-wise

First off, designate a pair of rubber gloves to wear for all things jalapeno. I spent an evening with pulsing burning hands that don't quit for hours, because I thought I was tough enough to de-seed a pepper with my fingers. Also remember to wash your cutting area well.

If you like it hot, keep the seeds in the jalapenos. If not remove them. I did one pepper with seeds, one without. Next you need to make space in the vodka bottle for the peppers, so drink a few sips, or just pour out. Shove the jalapenos in the bottle. Let sit in a dark place for 3-4 days. Strain solids.

This infused vodka brings surprising levels to any drink. Try mixing it with fruit juice, or in bloody mary's. A jalapeno screw driver introduced me to this infusion. Jalapeno gives the drink an unforgettable twist.

Summer Heat Jalapeno Lemonade

1 lemon sliced
2 jalapenos, sliced length-wise and seeded
1 container crystal light lemonade mix
2 quarts cold water

Mix all of the ingredients in a pitcher and let sit in the fridge for 1-4 days. The longer you wait the spicier it gets. Serve over ice. I didn't try this with the jalapeno infused vodka, because that's just crazy talk. I did decide I was tough enough (Again! Won't I learn?) to leave the seeds in the lemonade. It hurt my stomach. Don't even dream of letting your guests swallow jalapeno seeds raw. You may also be second-guessing the crystal light choice in my ingredient list. Crystal light was my grandmother's drink of choice, with orange rind. I grew up loving it. Another other mix would be fine.


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