Turn Up The Heat In Lemonade With This Spicy Ingredient

Glass of lemonade by the pool
Glass of lemonade by the pool - Okan Sumer/Shutterstock

Short of plunging into a pool, there's perhaps no better way to cool down in the dog days of summer than with a tall, refreshing glass of icy lemonade. This iconic drink is delicious anytime of year, but it's especially well known for its efficiency as a hot day antidote.

For this reason, it may seem counterintuitive to add a spicy ingredient to your mix, but we've learned that it's seriously good advice to eat more hot food to cool down, and this little lemonade upgrade is right in line with that philosophy. If you want to turn up the heat and create a cravable summertime staple, next time you mix up your favorite sweet and simple lemonade recipe, grab a jalapeño and get ready for a game-changing new dimension.

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a spicy margarita recipe can probably appreciate why this combination works: The heat and subtle savoriness of the pepper is a compelling complement to the bright, citrusy-sweet profile of your drink. The bonus is that it couldn't be easier to prepare, and is super simple to customize for any season.

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Crafting Your Spicy Jalapeño Lemonade

Jalepeno peppers
Jalepeno peppers - HestiRahayu/Shutterstock

To make this spicy spin on the classic, all you need to do is make a few small holes in a fresh jalapeño using the tip of a sharp knife (5 to 10 will do, depending on the size of your pepper). By tossing it into about 8 to 10 cups of your fresh lemonade (you can also use store-bought here if you prefer), and letting it steep, you infuse the liquid with that signature spicy flavor.

You can dial the heat up or down easily by adjusting how many peppers you use, and how long you steep the jalapeño in your lemonade. Start with a shorter steep and work your way up if you prefer a more powerful kick (anywhere from 4 to 12 hours is a good range for experimentation), but it's always a good idea to taste test as you go, as the strength of your pepper will vary a bit. (You can even learn how to pick the spiciest jalapeño peppers at the store, if you're going for supreme spiciness.)

Another bonus of this drink is that it's inherently balancing. One of the remedies for consuming something too strong on the Scoville scale is to reach for an acidic element, which can temper the capsaicin found in hot peppers. One warning for sufferers of acid reflux, though: Spicy foods can exacerbate these symptoms, so this combination of citrus and hot pepper may be one you'd prefer to skip.

A Customizable Creation

Spicy lemonade on ice with chili rim
Spicy lemonade on ice with chili rim - Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

This super simple drink is also a great starting point for all kinds of inspirations. You can alter your sweetener, opting for honey or agave over standard granulated sugar, or even maple syrup, all of which pair well with jalapeño. If you want to take your heat to a whole other level, bring in some hot honey here instead.

If you prefer the flavor of extra hot habanero and serranopeppers, you can use those as well, or create your own personal profile by experimenting with a blend of peppers. When it comes time to serve, give your lemonade a mocktail touch by rimming the glass with chili salt or sugar, or even chamoy and Tajin. Herbs like basil, mint, or cilantro are also a tasty complement, and make an alluringly verdant presentation, too. And to introduce another fun visual element, you can even make jalapeño ice cubes simply by adding a slice or two of the pepper into water in an ice cube tray, and freezing as you would normally. With the many ways you can add a spicy riff to your classic refreshment, you'll need never worry about a dull drinking experience in any season.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal