This Spicy Barrel Aged Chile Liqueur Will Bring Some Heat to Your Margarita

It seems that there is no spirit that you can’t put into a barrel to turn it into something just a little more interesting (except maybe vodka, that would still be pretty boring). Case in point: The team behind Ancho Reyes decided to put their chile liqueur into barrels to age it, and the result is the first new spirit to join the lineup since it launched in 2017.

Ancho Reyes was co-founded by Ivan Saldaña, who is also behind Casa Lumbre Spirits which includes other brands like Montelobos Mezcal, Abasolo Corn Whisky, and Contraluz, which was touted as being the first cristalino mezcal. Ancho Reyes is a liqueur made from poblano chiles grown in Puebla, Mexico that are dried in the sun for about 20 days to become ancho chiles. Those are then macerated in a neutral cane spirit for six months to create the core Ancho Reyes expression. For Ancho Reyes Barrica, however, the liqueur is put into ex-bourbon barrels for two years, so really more of a full maturation period than a finish.

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According to Raul Gonzalez, global managing director for spirits at Campari Group (which owns the brand), the resulting liquid is meant for enjoying on its own as well as mixing. “Ancho Reyes Barrica is a completely new type of barrel-aged liqueur that has the depth and complexity of Ancho Reyes Original but now as an elevated sipping spirit,” he said in a statement.

Official tasting notes describe a blend of sweet, spice, and smoke on the palate, with notes of dulce de leche, spiced vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest, and of course a dollop of chile heat. Besides enjoying it neat or over some ice, recommended serves include using it in a play on a Manhattan by swapping out the whiskey, or a version of an Old Fashioned made with agave nectar and bitters. Or you could even add a little bit of depth and spice to your Margarita with the liqueur. Ancho Reyes Barrica is available now from ReserveBar, along with Ancho Reyes Verde and Original.

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