To make a big batch of Hatch Chile Vodka, infuse New Mexico’s famous chile peppers with your favorite vodka. Smoky and maybe a little spicy, this vodka is sure to kick up the flavor of your cocktails. Learn how to make it to your desired spice level.
I received free product from Melissa’s Produce that I used in this recipe. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Feast + West!
Mail surprises are the best surprises.
One of my favorite parts of the day is checking the front steps for packages and then running out to the mailbox.
I love getting letters and postcards on occasion, and bills are far less fun. And some packages are just cat litter and dog food.
But then sometimes, you open a package to find a true treasure, like a box of hatch green chiles.
My friends at Melissa’s Produce sent me a big box of their green gold. They sell hatch pepper chiles when they are in season, and receiving this box was such a treat.
I rarely see fresh hatch chiles for sale here in North Carolina, which made this bountiful box so special.
Hatch chiles are so beloved in New Mexico, they even have a whole Hatch Chile Festival. (Maybe one day I’ll go, and stay for the hot air balloon festival too.)
One of my best friends grew up in New Mexico, and often tells me about how much she misses hatch chiles, especially a certain chicken soup she’d always get at a diner.
A family member who once lived in Albequerque told me that when he moved away, the food everywhere else just tasted bland without hatch chiles, so now he buys them whenever he can.
I can see why — these emerald green and ruby red beauties pack a powerful punch.
What are hatch chiles?
Hatch chiles are a staple of New Mexico cuisine, especially in the fall.
It’s a famous pepper that hails from the Hatch Valley in southern New Mexico. Its fans live all over the state and it is beloved in Texas and southern California as well.
This pepper is similar to the Anaheim chile, which makes the Hatch Valley part important — in the same way that champagne must come from the Champagne region of France.
Hatch chiles start off green, then they turn red as they mature. In other words, the green and red peppers are essentially the same pepper picked at different times.
If you can’t enjoy them fresh, you can often find them roasted and jarred. They are enjoyed in all kinds of dishes, from enchilada sauce to cheese and salsa to bacon ranch dip, and everything in between.
What do hatch chiles taste like?
When picked early and roasted, green hatch chiles give off a deep, smoky flavor. The matured, red chiles are slightly sweeter and have an earthier taste.
Hatch chiles come in mild or hot varieties and are usually labeled as such. If not, they are probably mild! The mild ones will have that smoky, earthy flavor without the heat.
However, a surefire way to reduce the heat is to discard some or all of the seeds.
Hatch chile recipes
If you find yourself with a surplus of hatch chiles, here are a few delicious recipes to try:
- Serve a big bowl of chips alongside Roasted Hatch Peach Salsa to start the meal.
- Green Chile Macaroni & Cheese looks like an amazing side dish for summertime gatherings.
- Try these Hatch Green Chili Chicken Nachos for a really fun main dish.
- Enjoy these Hatch Chile Cornbread Muffins on the side!
And if you aren’t ready to cook anything yet, you’ll want to roast them and freeze them. My friend Erin has a great guide to roasting peppers for enjoying later.
Or, you can just make a few batches of this hatch chile vodka recipe.
Hatch chile infused vodka recipe
This recipe explains how to infuse hatch chiles with vodka, which you can use in cocktails.
You can make hatch green chile vodka or hatch red chile vodka, or land somewhere in the middle with hatch Christmas chile vodka. (Apparently, in New Mexico you can order your food with red chile sauce, green chile sauce or a combo of both, called “Christmas-style.”)
To make it you will cut the green chiles into smaller pieces. This lets you fit more peppers in your jar, plus it allows the vodka to soak all around the flavorful parts of the pepper.
If you want your hatch green chile vodka to be on the mild side (not spicy), you will want to remove the seeds from the peppers before you put them in the jar.
Make sure not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth while you work with the cut peppers. Even if they are mild, they can still irritate you. Always wash your hands well with soap and water after working with peppers.
Then, pour in the vodka! If you’re not sure which brand to use, you can check out my guide to picking out a vodka. (I made a few jars this time around, and I used Tito’s for one and Deep Eddy for the others.)
You’re almost done. The next step is the hardest, though: waiting.
How long to infuse hatch chile vodka
The answer rests in how flavorful you want your vodka to be. I find the sweet spot to be about 1 to 2 weeks.
If you want a stronger flavor, you can let the peppers infuse for longer. Give it a smell- and/or taste-test every few days to see how strong it is.
If it winds up being too spicy, don’t fret. You can always dilute it by adding more plain vodka to your jar.
When you’ve reached your desired spice level, strain out the peppers. You can discard them or use them in a recipe. Cooking them will eliminate the alcohol.
What to make with hatch chile vodka
The possibilities for this hatch chile vodka recipe are endless.
Try it in a spicy Moscow mule — the ginger and lime will provide a beautiful balance with the pepper flavor.
Or simply add it to your favorite lemonade recipe to add a spicy kick.
However you use this hatch chile vodka recipe, and whether you make red, green or Christmas-style, I hope you love it and savor every last drop.
It’ll be another year before these beauties come around again! Cheers! // susannah
- 4 hatch green chiles
- 3 cups vodka
- Remove and discard stems from the chiles. If a milder flavor is desired, remove and discard the seeds as well.
- Halve the chiles and slice into strips. Place in a 32-ounce glass jar. Top with vodka.
- Let sit for 1-2 weeks in a cool, dark place like the back of a cabinet. Taste with a spoon periodically to determine spice level.
- Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon, or decant into another jar with a fine-mesh strainer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g