Chile-spiced hot apple cider brandy cocktail

chile-puya-spiced-apple-cider-recipe-TOSOTT

Growing up in the Midwest, I went apple picking every fall and loved to drink mulled hot apple cider. Although apple cider the way I grew up drinking it is really not consumed in Mexico, I came up with this recipe with the traditional American apple cider in mind; it’s made with apples that are easily found in Mexico along with Mexican cinnamon sticks, chile puya for a little kick, and sweetened with piloncillo — all ingredients that are muy mexicano.

Chile puya brings an earthy, fruity, moderate heat to this mulled hot apple cider that can be served with a splash of brandy on cold winter nights. It’s the perfect warm cocktail to serve during the holidays as well!

Chile puya looks just like a smaller version of chile guajillo, both in color and shape, but is spicier. If you can’t find chile puya, or want a milder spice, you can substitute a guajillo chile in this recipe. I advise that you start out with one chile and work your way up if you think it needs to be spicier. Either way, be sure to remove the seeds and veins inside the chiles…. 

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Atole de calabaza

How to make Mexican atole de calabaza. A gluten-free hot beverage perfect for fall and winter! Recipe via theothersideofthetortilla.com.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Maseca, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Atole de calabaza is a masa-based beverage made with milk, thickened with Maseca corn flour, and served hot. This pumpkin-flavored version tastes similar to pumpkin pie and is perfect for serving around Thanksgiving.

Although vanilla, chocolate (called champurrado) and strawberry are the most common atole flavors, there are many other common flavors such as pumpkin, or modern, non-traditional flavors such as blueberry cardamom atole. I love to serve this pumpkin atole with conchas (a type of pan dulce, pictured above).

RELATED RECIPE: Atole de vainilla

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and pumpkin pie is always a staple in my house at this time of year. As a kid, I always used to want to drink the leftover pumpkin pie filling, which my mom would warn me against doing since it contains raw eggs. I’d manage to drink some anyway and usually everything was fine, but occasionally, I’d end up with a stomachache. This atole tastes very similar to pumpkin pie filling thanks to the creaminess from the evaporated milk and has no risk from the eggs like pumpkin pie filling. What more could I ask for? It’s the perfect breakfast or dessert when served with some pan dulce!… 

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Atole de vainilla

How to make Mexican atole de vainilla. Recipe via @MauraHernandez on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Maseca, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Atole de vainilla is a traditional masa-based beverage, often made with milk, and served hot. This hot beverage goes great with tamales, pastries or pan dulce and is also most popular around Day of the Dead and the holidays. 

Atoles date back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and are well-documented as a form of sustenance amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Historical texts tell us the drink was often flavored with fruits, spices or chiles. 

Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate are the most common flavors of atole nowadays, but you can sometimes also find mora (blackberry; one of my favorites), nuez (pecan), pineapple, elote (sweet corn), piñon (pine nut), and many other flavors. In some areas of Mexico, you can even find savory atoles—one made with with green chile is called chileatole.

RELATED RECIPE: Champurrado… 

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Carajillo: The coffee cocktail

A classic Spanish cocktail popular in Mexico, the Carajillo is made with espresso and Licor 43.

How to make a carajillo, the Spanish coffee cocktail that's popular in Mexico. Recipe via @MauraHernandez at The Other Side of The Tortilla

I’ve often enjoyed this cocktail while in Mexico, whether it be at a fancy restaurant in Mexico City, a late-night coffee bar in Acapulco or at vacation resorts spanning the country from Los Cabos to Playa del Carmen. This drink is also similar to Italy’s caffè corretto (meaning “corrected coffee”) which typically contains grappa, sambuca or brandy and espresso. The Carajillo can be served hot or cold, over ice, as pictured here.

RELATED RECIPE: Cafe de olla… 

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Watermelon and aloe vera juice

In Mexico, as well as other countries in Latin America, aloe gel (also sometimes referred to as aloe crystal) is used externally for a variety of skin ailments as well as consumed for its curative health benefits, especially for stomach and digestive ailments. Aloe gel or crystal comes from the meat of the leaf, and is easy and inexpensive to extract yourself at home. In Spanish, aloe vera is called “sábila” or “áloe,” and is sometimes misspelled as “sávila.” In Mexico, it’s most commonly referred to as “sábila.”

Aloe vera juice is said to help maintain healthy digestion, and can also help regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, reduce acne eruptions, as well as many other health benefits, and is a good addition for those who are conscious of an alkaline diet.

Watermelon aloe vera juice recipe from theothersideofthetortilla.com (jugo de sandía y sábila)

My Tío Eduardo swears by homemade aloe vera juice for digestive ailments. Homemade aloe juice is both easy and inexpensive to make—a single large aloe vera leaf in the produce section of most grocery stores in the U.S. should cost between 99 cents and $2 or $3. If a single leaf is $3 or more, it should be very large and heavy, otherwise check another store for a better price. Most Mexican or Latin American markets will carry them. Aloe leaves available in grocery stores are typically about 4-4.5 inches wide at the base, 22-24 inches long and about 1 inch thick.

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Agua fresca de melón verde y pepino

Aguas frescas are a staple in most Mexican and Mexican-American homes, mine included. The best aguas frescas are made with ingredients that are in season because they’re easiest to get, typically cost less because they are more abundant, and have the best flavor because they’re at their peak growing season. Honeydew melon—also known as melón verde—is in season typically from May to October, with the peak from May to August, but we’ve been seeing a lot of this melon in the grocery stores in Southern California since mid-March. This honeydew and cucumber agua fresca recipe is light and refreshing for warm spring and summer days. You can also opt to serve it straight as a juice with breakfast—just run through a juicer or powerful blender and leave out the water and optional sugar.

Honeydew melon and cucumber agua fresca recipe on theothersideofthetortilla.com… 

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