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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

Ancho Pepper Syrup

The newest edition to my syrup shelf.

Cane sugar and Ancho chili peppers
Always use 100% raw cane sugar!

Thumbing though my newly acquired copy of The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Drinks, I quickly realized that I needed to grab a few ingredients that I don't always have in my home bar. Every mixologist has their tendencies and authors Trader Tom, and Hiphipahula are no different. In the liqueur department they lean into Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur more than I have to date and they use a lot of pepper and chili infused syrups. Most notably is their Ancho Pepper Syrup.

Cutting the softened pepper

While they provide the recipe in their book, the proportions are rather large for my personal use so I've cut it down to a more manageable size. Essentially this is a 2:1 simple syrup that is infused with an ancho chili pepper. If you're not familiar with ancho chili peppers, they are poblano peppers that have been dried. You've probably seen poblano peppers at a Mexican restaurant - they're the green peppers used in a chile relleno. If you let the mature on the vine they turn red. Pick and dry them and you've got an ancho chili pepper. I happen to keep some around for making chili as they add an earthy, smoky flavor without a lot of heat to the sauce. The same goes for their use in this syrup. In fact, you may want a bit more heat (especially in tequila based drinks). If that's you, just add some dried red peppercorn flakes to the simmering potion. However, made as listed below it adds a subtle flavor that cuts the sweetness without adding much heat to the spiciness of the drink.

Ancho Chili Pepper Syrup

  • 1 cup pure cane sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 ancho chili pepper

  • 1/2 ounce 151 proof rum

Warm the water and sugar mixture in a small sauce pan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Drop in a medium sized ancho chili pepper. After about 10 minutes the pepper will be soft. Take the softened pepper and while holding it over the pan cut it into small strips that drop back in the mix. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. After 30 mins. remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Filter the mix as you pour it into a bottle for storage. I use a coffee filter in a funnel but you can use a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Once it's drained into the bottle I'll squeeze as much out of the coffee filter as I can. Add the 151 rum as a preservative, then bottle and refrigerate.

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