I’ve been thinking about weddings recently, and not just because of all the recent celebrations in New York, which I’ve loved reading about in the paper. You see, eight years ago today, on a sunny, summer afternoon in Southern California, my husband and I joined together in civil matrimony. Yep, we got ourselves hitched.
It was a beautiful day of laughter, sunshine, California sparkling wine, and family and friends who gathered from the world’s four corners to wish us well. Their love transformed the hotel where we got married from a wedding-industrial complex into someplace magical.
One my favorite parts about our wedding were the flowing bottles of Mumm Cuvée Napa Valley, which comes from one of the loveliest wineries I’ve ever visited. But if I could do it all over again, I think I’d also propose a special cocktail to mark the occasion. And I have just the one in mind.
It starts with chili vodka, or chili-infused vodka (recipe below), which packs a deep and gentle burn. Mix it with ice, lemonade and club soda, and you have a tart and refreshing drink, with a persistent, pleasant under note of heat. Kind of like marriage itself? Hm, let’s not read too much into this recipe.
These cocktails, which my husband has named the Calcutter, would be lovely on a summer evening, accompanied by a flip through your wedding photo album.
1 700ml bottle of vodka (I used Absolut)
4-5 chilies (depending on their strength)
Slice the peppers lengthwise and pop them in the vodka bottle. Allow to infuse at room temperature for two days, gently agitating the bottle every evening (if you remember). After two days, taste the vodka — it should have a deep, gentle burn. If it’s not adequately spicy, allow to infuse for a few another day or so. If it is hot enough, remove the chilies. The heat index will depend on the strength of your peppers. I used 4-5 green finger chilies, but if using habaneros or jalapeños, proceed with caution.
Adapted from Miss Masala
2/10 chili-infused vodka
Pour the vodka and lemonade in a tumbler filled with 3 large lumps of ice. Add club soda to almost the brim and garnish with a slice of lemon.