© Carey Jones

This tequila-based chocolate-and-chile liqueur is a ton of fun in cocktails.

Five years ago, spicy cocktails were a novelty. Today, they’re all but ubiquitous. (Just ask a mixologist how many requests they get for spicy margaritas.) Plenty of spicy drinks rely on straight-up chilies; others, the popular Ancho Reyes chile liqueur. And for something a bit different, here’s a contribution from Patrón: XO Café Incendio. 

It’s a tasty and unusual chile-chocolate liqueur, made from Patrón silver tequila, Criollo chocolate, and arbol chiles. Starting off rich and sweet with a gentle chocolate flavor, it immediately gives way to a powerful heat—only real chile-philes will want to sip this stuff straight. But it’s a ton of fun in cocktails, where we can play around with its dynamic spice. Here are three ways to enjoy it.  

 © Carey Jones

Easy: Tequila Sunset  

Chocolate and orange are an eternally pleasant pairing, and they work quite well together in this light, bright cocktail that tempers Incendio’s chocolate and spice without covering it up. An easy, likable introduction. 

Instructions:  In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of silver tequila, an ounce and a half of orange juice, half an ounce of XO Café Incendio, and half an ounce of agave syrup (that’s agave dissolved in an equal part of hot water). Shake all that up until well-chilled and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist, spraying it over the surface of the drink to release its citrus oils.

 © Carey Jones

Intermediate: Incendio, Coffee & Rye 

When we think of spicy chocolate, we imagine it being friends with dark coffee and warm spice. So here, we’re shaking Incendio together with rye whiskey and cold-brew, then garnishing with a cinnamon stick, whose scent ties it all together. 

Instructions:  In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce of rye, an ounce of XO Café Incendio, an ounce of cold brew coffee, and a quarter-ounce of simple syrup. Shake all that up until well-chilled and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

 © Carey Jones

Advanced: Incendio Dominicana 

Dark rum, coffee liqueur, and cream make up the cocktail known as a “Dominicana.” So we’re trying out chile-chocolate liqueur instead, and guess what: it’s a winner. We like how the heat is subtle at first, but then emerges more and more strongly. The fresh nutmeg garnish really makes this drink; don’t skip it. 

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, stir together two ounces of dark rum, 3/4 ounce of XO Café Incendio, a quarter-ounce of simple syrup, and one dash of Angostura bitters. Shake until very well-chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass. Top with an ounce of softly whipped cream. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg. 

Here’s how to make whipped cream in a cocktail shaker. Take your Hawthorne strainer, with the spring around the edge, and pop out that spring. Put it in your cocktail tin, along with as much cream as you’re whipping up (in this case, one ounce), and one ice cube. Then shake the heck out of it. The spring acts like a whisk, and after about 30 seconds or so, you’ll have a soft whipped cream.