It was nearly three years ago that Ancho Reyes introduced its Chile to Miami. The chili-infused liqueur has spread among many local bar programs. Spirits visionaries Daniel Schneeweiss and Moises Guindi, founders of Milagro Tequila and Montelobos Mezcal, recently added a new flavor to their repertoire, Ancho Reyes Verde.
Both the Chile and Verde versions are made from the same poblano pepper. The difference is that the chilies used in the verde are harvested earlier in the maturation process, so they are still green. The peppers are then fire-roasted, giving them more of an herbal essence and and a less smoky flavor. The new liqueur has been introduced in only a handful of states, including New York, California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, and now Florida.
Ancho Reyes brand ambassador Ezra Pattek says, “It was only natural for Ancho Reyes to develop another spirit, and everyone loves the verde." He believes the flavor suits Miami's tropical climate.
Even though the product is relatively new to Miami, plenty of bars, including Sweet Liberty, Better Days, the Local, Bar Nancy, and Coyo Taco, are already carrying the spirit. Here are the six spiciest versions to try.
1. El Grito
Ezra Pattek, a former partner of Bar Lab Cocktails, is known for curating the bar program at El Grito (1766 Bay Rd., Miami Beach), where Verde is used in its michelada, made with Tecate, serrano, habanero, lemon, cilantro, and mint and rimmed with smoked salt.
2. Employees Only
Though this drink isn't officially on the menu, it's available upon request. But beware: The name might be not something you want to shout. Sex on the Taco Truck ($13) has only three ingredients: Ancho Reyes Verde, fresh lime juice, and lemongrass syrup. Danilo Bozovic, bar manager and managing partner of Employees Only, loves to use Verde with herbs such as sage, basil, thyme, and cilantro to really boost the spicier notes. He adds, "With its warm climate and an ice-cold spicy concoction, Miami goes perfect with Verde's ingredients."
3. The Broken Shaker
Bartender Anthony Valencia took a summer in Los Angeles and poured it into one drink, the Summer in Los Feliz ($13). "I used to go to Griffith Observatory and check out the views of the city, and after walking some of those trails, we'd get a cold-pressed juice after, then maybe a shot of tequila and a Modelo," Valencia says. "On the way home, we'd pass by Mexican street vendors selling fresh-cut fruit and flavored snow cones, so I'd pick up a bag of fresh mango, get the vendor to drench it in lime and tajín, and enjoy the sunset." He shakes some tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde, mango, tajín, fresh carrot juice, and beer with crushed ice and then adds a dried piece of mango with the same boba pearls he would put on his Pinkberry froyo after eating tacos.
4. Wynwood Diner
General manager/beverage director Michael Albuerne says this cocktail will help beat the Miami heat. La Milla Verde ($12) is made with mezcal, Ancho Reyes Verde, artichoke liqueur, cucumber juice, lime juice, and orgeat syrup. Albuerne believes the Ancho Reyes, with its earthy and spicy notes, helps bring out the smoky characteristics of the mezcal. "One hand washing the other," he says.
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5. The Anderson
Bar manager Joshua Alperstein likes Verde for its spice, heat, and brightness. The Anderson altered its Death by Stereo cocktail by swapping out the usual Ancho Reyes Chile with Verde. Olmeca Altos Tequila, fresh-squeezed lime juice, grapefruit, and a mixed-herb cordial help bring this killer cocktail to life.
6. Bar Alter
Anyone who watches Gustavo Martinez behind the bar knows this guy is serious about cocktails. His Verano Verde ($13) combines Ancho Reyes Verde with vermouth infused with ancho chilies, Olmeca Altos tequila, fresh mango and lime juices, and a dash of mole bitters. Martinez serves the drink in a glass rimmed with a spicy salt blend.