I like a spicy cocktail once in a while but wasn’t sure how the flavor of rosé would mingle with a jalapeño. I have to admit, my expectations weren’t super high.
But when I had my first sip, I was surprised. It was really good — I drank the whole glass as did my friend, Ali, who was taste-testing with me. It had a similar impact as a spicy margarita but was a little more subdued and less sugary.
While I enjoyed the drink, it wouldn’t have been my intuition to pair rosé and jalapeño slices.
But James Briscione, executive chef at Angelena’s in Pensacola, Florida and author of “The Flavor Matrix: The Art and Science of Pairing Common Ingredients to Create Extraordinary Dishes,” tells USA TODAY that the pairing makes “perfect sense.”
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What is spicy rosé?
Making spicy rosé is simple. TikTok and Instagram creators have recommended adding slices of jalapeño to a glass of rosé with ice to make the drink that’s all over the internet right now — some are even calling it “the new ‘it’ drink of the summer.”
The drink has been going around for months on social platforms.
TikTok creator @allyssainthekitchen posted a video in April captioned “have you ever tried a jalapeño slice in your rosé?” along with the audio clip that posed another question: “what is something that you’ve always done, you have never found it strange but other people find it weird and now you get made fun of for it? I’ll go first.”
The video had almost 88,000 views by Wednesday and @allyssainthekitchen has since posted other videos about spicy rosé — and has shared a video featuring spice frosé, too.
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What does jalapeño rosé taste like?
It’s sweet and spicy, but not too much of either. The seemingly contradictory combination is appealing to many people, and fans of spicy margaritas will especially love the taste profile says Briscione.
And flavor wise, the aromas in the wine and of the jalapeño are complementary, according to Briscione.
“I definitely could see I could see restaurants, you know, adding that (to the menu) and I think particularly, in in summer it’s a great thing,” he says.
Why do sweet and spicy flavors work so well together?
Briscione explains that flavors and taste are really two separate things that contribute to how we experience food and drink.
“Taste being what happens on the tongue and flavor being the aromas … that are sent through the nose,” he says.
On the taste side, he says that anything spicy activates some pleasure receptors in the brain, and sugars do the same.
“So you’re getting just like a you know immediately some signals from the brain of enjoyment, just from the spiciness and from and from the sweetness,” says Birscione.
There’s also a cooling effect because this drink is served cold. And the acidity in the drink is refreshing.
Briscione says the sipping process into a little cycle of “intense sensations” from the sweetness and spiciness and the coolness and acidity of the drink which refreshes. The combination makes you want to take another sip.
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