Some Like it Hot: Jalapeno Wine

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I love southwestern cuisine.  The complex flavors.  The spiciness.  The heat.   One such item that has those characteristics is the humble jalapeno.  Sure… we love it diced into salsas.  Roasted with a cream cheese filling.  And of course… it is a must in some of the green chilis that we create.  Heck… even pickled, it shines.  But with a bumper crop, we decided to think outside of the box and try something brand new for us.  Jalapeno wine!

Now some of you may be thinking, “Ewww… that would be gross”.  Or, “It would be way too hot to drink”.  But trust me… sometimes the unexpected  can surprise you with a sublime flavor.

The recipe to follow has been adapted from the Jalapeno Wine recipe from Jack Keller at http://winemaking.jackkeller.net.

Jalapeno Wine

  • 48, blemish-free jalapenos
  • 3 boxes (15 oz. each) golden raisins, chopped
  • 6 lbs. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. acid blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
  • 3 gallons water
  • 3 crushed Campden tablet
  • 1 1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient
  • 1 pkg. ( 5 grams) Fruit Wine Yeast (Lalvin 71B-1122)

Wash the jalapenos to remove any dirt or grit.  Put on a pair of gloves and then cut off the stems and slice the peppers length-ways.  If you prefer a wine with less heat, remove the seeds and membrane from the interior of each pepper.  If you like things spicy, leave in most seeds and membrane.  Then do a rough chop of each jalapeno slice.

washing jalapeños

washing jalapeños

Place the chopped jalapenos and raisins into a fine-mesh nylon bag (available at home-brew stores or online).  Tie/close the top of the band and place into the primary fermenting bucket (use a five gallon bucket to give yourself plenty of room).

Add remaining ingredients in the order listed, except for the pectic enzyme and yeast.  Stir to thoroughly combine and to dissolve the sugar.  Place lid on fermenting bucket with air lock and let set for 12 hours.

airlock

airlock

After 12 hours, add the pectic enzyme to the fermenting bucket.  Let set for 12 more hours.  Next, add the yeast.

Stir the mixture daily for the next seven days.  Wearing rubber gloves, reach into the bucket and squeeze the nylon bag (this helps extract juice/flavor from the jalapenos and the raisins).

On day eight, remove the nylon bag.  Then transfer the liquid to a carboy (secondary fermenting container) and fit with an airlock.  Allow the liquid to remain in the carboy for 45 – 60 days.  Then transfer the liquid (leaving behind any sediment) to another carboy with airlock.  Allow to set for 30 days and then repeat the transfer process into another clean carboy with airlock twice more.  Each time, leave any sediment behind.  You should notice at this point that the wine is becoming less cloudy.  After the final 30 days is up, you may transfer into wine bottles and cork.

jalapeno wine in carboy

jalapeno wine in carboy

NOTE: for the recipe, raisins are used to provide tannin.  You may let the wine age or open a bottle to enjoy.

The wine will have a light straw color.  There will also be some heat in the wine, so please don’t expect this to taste like a Chardonnay.

This wine will pair nicely with southwestern cuisine and will even make a nice sipping beverage similar to a cordial.

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