Reviewer’s Note: Sample of the product discussed here was provided at no cost in exchange for my honest review.
October, given the spooky Halloween-themed revelry that it awakens in fun-loving hearts, seems an appropriate month to say a few words about a sample bottle of tequila that came our way some time ago. We’re talking about Ghost Tequila, a spirit so-christened because it is infused, to a degree best described as “generous,” with ghost pepper chilies.
To call this liquor worthy of its name is to understate matters. One need only cast a passing glance at its bottle imagery—a rendering of a skeletal rib cage with a bright ghost red pepper placed where a human heart would be found in any person who takes the ghost pepper less seriously than Ghost’s creators do—to find proof that in any tasting experience to involve this tequila, center stage (along with the loge, the mezzanine, the orchestra pit, and third-tier balconies) will undeniably belong to its namesake pepper.
Ghost is an 80-proof 100% agave tequila produced in Jalisco, Mexico. On pouring, a robust bouquet asserts itself at once, redolent with fresh essences of citrus fruit, lemongrass, and tart red berries. These are juicy, grassy aromatics that scatter wedges of grapefruit and blood orange upon a freshly-cut lawn. Amidst these sweeter fragrances waft peppery pronouncements of chili that promise fire and spice to the palate, though the pepper makes that vow quietly, as if biding time before revealing its full breadth.
This tequila leads with fruit not only in its nose, but on the tongue, tasting first of juicy oranges and limes, backed by hints of passionfruit. The heat of ghost peppers rides right on the heels of the fruit, and what begins as a faint smoldering swells quickly after the tequila is swallowed. Taken neat, the effect calls to mind the spark before the explosion, as the fruit essence gives near immediate way to the peppery character nudging its way onto the tongue. It opens with a flicker of warmth, then blossoms with a fullness destined to either immediately enthrall or daunt first-time tasters. With that said, the pepper doesn’t altogether displace the other flavors at work, instead melding with them in a way that makes this tequila more easily drinkable than one might suspect on first hearing “ghost pepper” applied to a form of liquor that has earned a reputation of being not for lightweights or neophyte drinkers. Its in-mouth texture is smooth. Its fires smolder for a pleasant length of time after swallowing. Despite the—again, so very generous—infusion of a pepper that places among the world’s hottest, it goes down silken and warm in a way that lends itself to experimentation.
The ghost pepper flavor element in this tequila adds a welcome edge to the classic margarita, Paloma, or any other cocktail in which tequila is a significant player. It also dances well with a dash of peach or orange cocktail bitters. As for food pairings, have it with sushi, Spanish tapas, guacamole and chips, roasted root veggies and butternut squash, or chilled, creamy dishes like shrimp salad or pasta salad.
Learn more about Ghost Tequila or find it in your area by visiting http://www.ghosttequila.com/.
This article first appeared on FlavorfulWorld.com.