Flavored spirits often arouse suspicion, and for good reason. UV alone offers upwards of 15 “flavored vodkas,” Jim and Jack both make super-sugary “honey” variants of their southern elixirs, and Fireball is pumped so full of “natural cinnamon” that it’s totally unrecognizable as a Canadian whiskey. Ghost Tequila is different.
The aptly named, ghost-pepper infused liquor doesn’t use its unconventional ingredient to make up for the base booze’s quality. It was created with spicy cocktails in mind, but Ghost also blows every other aforementioned liquor varietal out of the water with regard to drinkability. On a personal note, I drank most of my bottle neat, and I found it every bit as tasty and enjoyable as my go-to Tres Generaciones, albeit entirely different from the traditional anejo tequila.
Chris Moran, the brand’s CEO and co-founder, spent over a year experimenting with different peppers in his search to find one that would deliver kick without adding unwanted vegetal notes. He ultimately decided on the Bhut jolokia (aka Ghost Pepper), as only a trace amount of extract is needed to add balanced heat without overriding the delicate agave profile.
But the blending of ghost pepper essence is only the final step in a distillation process that yields quality tequila. First, mature Weber Blue Agave is hand-harvested at peak sugar levels by jimadores around the tequila-centric Jalisco region in Mexico. The agave pinas are then quartered and baked in both traditional brick ovens and modern steam autoclaves before being macerated using roller mills to extract juice that’s then fermented to produce mosto. That mosto is then distilled twice to produce tequila, and pepper essence is added to create Ghost Tequila.
“When I was a bartender in Boston, I so wished there was a spicy tequila I could use to help save time and ensure consistency when I was making spicy margaritas and other spicy cocktails – so I decided to go to Mexico and create one,” Moran said of his creation. “But from the beginning, my goal was first and foremost to make a great tequila, and then make it spicy.”