Simple Summer Cocktails with Piment d'Espelette

Simple Summer Cocktails with Piment d'Espelette

In Basque Country, you'll find piment d'Espelette sprinkled on salads in place of cracked black pepper, rubbed onto cured ham, or stirred into sauces and stews. The eponymous peppers of the village of Espelette in France are harvested in late summer and early autumn and strung by hand on the facades of buildings throughout the hamlet to dry in the sun, and dried further in wood-burning ovens prior to being ground into powder. 

Complex, with a subtle spiciness, we thought we'd try adding piment d'Espelette to some summer cocktails to make unique twists on tried and true beverages of summer. When you have a friendly gathering on the deck on a warm summer's day, it's always good to shake up something new to drink.

Bloody Mary with Piment d'Espelette

Bloody Mary with piment d'Espelette

Whether you have your own secret Bloody Mary recipe or enjoy one of the many mixes readily available, you and your guests will enjoy a bit of piment d'Espelette along the rim of the glass and stirred in to taste. For a ready-made accoutrement, add a banderilla of gherkin, guindilla, olive, piquillo, and cocktail onion.

Margarita with piment d'Espelette

Maragrita with piment d'Espelette

We followed Geoffrey Zakarian's classic margarita recipe with piment d'Espelette added to the sugar and salt along the rim. A refreshing, resounding success.

You might also try experimenting by adding piment d'Espelette to grapefruit juice and vodka cocktails, mango daiquiris, or your other favorite summer drink. The possibilities are endless.