August 13, 2011

Keepin’ “Chile” During the Hot Summer

Summer time is one of the most social seasons of the year -- with outdoor happy hours, rooftop parties and dinner gatherings galore! Often that also translates into excess calories that leave the bikini line in a bulge... but, August is the month it doesn't have to!

With the rise of "skinny" cocktails (our waist lines thank you, Bethenny Frankel!) there's no better time to revamp your seasonal libations than now -- National Chile Harvest kickoff month!

Fact is, chiles are not only a key ingredient in decadently spicy foods and beverages, they also offer many positive benefits to the body. According to my dear friend (and mentor), Pat Baird, RD, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant, "Chile peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, particularly B6, and are high in potassium, magnesium and iron. Chiles also contain special plant nutrients (phytochemicals) that protect cells from damage, and maintain overall health.”

For me? Well, you know I’m never going to forego a cocktail on an evening out and about (and we know they are in plethora), so it's all about checks and balances. That’s exactly why I opt to trade in more sugar-clad Pina Coladas and daquiris, which are high in calories, for something a little more saucy! You'll not only reap the benefits of the chiles themselves, but the spicy attributes will make you sip slower and avoid frequent 'refill' stops at the bar.

I’ve scoured some of the top bartops and spoke to prominent mixologists in the country to identify the hottest August sips. Thirsty yet? Whip up some of these chili-infused finds:

Hot Lips
By Manny Hinojosa, CORZO Mixology Specialist
• 1 1/2 oz. Corzo Silver
• 2 oz. fresh press pineapple juice
• 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
• 1/2 oz. Natural agave nectar
• 2 slices of Serrano chile (muddled)

Preparation: Slice chiles and add to a shaker. Muddle using cocktail mixing whisk or spoon. Add tequila and let sit for a few minutes to let the spice infuse into the liquid. Add agave, pineapple and lime juices ice and top with ice. Shake well and strain into a well-chilled martini glass.

Red Chili Martini
By: Eugene Mardell of the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
• 2.5 oz of tequila
• 1 tsp. of Mango chile puree
• Splash of fresh lime juice (to taste)
• Cayenne salt to rim
Preparation: Place in shaker over ice, shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with small, red chile.

Red Ice
By Stacy De Fino, WinoBee
*Makes 4 glasses
• 1/4 cup Haagan Daas Mango Sorbet
• 1 tsp fresh lime juice
• 1/2 tsp of lemon or lime zest
• 1/8 tsp chile powder (or muddled Serrano chiles)
• Lemon wedge (to garnish)
Mionetto Prosecco

Preparation: Using an immersion blender, mix sorbet, lime juice, zest and chile powder. Spoon mixture into a champagne flute. Fill with prosecco and stir lightly until ingredients are well meshed. Lightly rim lemon wedge in additional chile powder. Add lemon wedge to side of champagne flute to garnish.

As seen on “Good Morning Connecticut” on 8/13/11
Video compliments of WTNH-ABC


Anonymous said...

Fantastic Job this morning on Good Morning CT! Poised and influential - the perfect "mix"! is on the rise.

susan said...

Stacy....great job. Just saw the segment and I think you are a natural - well versed and knowledgeable. Look forward to more commentaries...