Flying Leap Vineyards & Distillery of Elgin, Arizona, announced the release of its Habanero Brandy Liqueur.
The 93.6-proof spirit is a derivative from the production of Flying Leap’s habanero chili wine. When producing the chili wine, Flying Leap uses high-proof neutral grape spirits to sterilize the habanero chilies before soaking them in a wine charge (which gives the small amount of charging wine its natural habanero essence). Flying Leap drains off the infused spirit afterwards and normally discards it (it’s undrinkably hot at this point).
However, Flying Leap long speculated that the spirits could be used to make other products, and the distillery has been working on them for years. They even tried making a Bloody Mary mix with them, but that proved to be too hot. Here, however, the fusion of heat, diluted into eau-de-vie with aged Cognac-styled brandy sweetened with cane simple produced a wonderfully-spicy liqueur that had sufficient, tolerable heat and delicious flavor. This liqueur has moderate heat intensity, and it blends well into hot chocolate or any cocktail featuring chocolate/cocoa.