Put Some Chili Peppers in Your Crappy Pink Wine

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Photo: Claire Lower

When I first saw this Bon Appétit article suggesting I add sliced jalapeños to my rosé, I thought about getting angry, but then I remembered I was the one who suggested putting pickles in your shitty beer. (And I was just too tired to muster up any real indignation.)

When you consider the plethora of spicy cocktails out there, putting a few pepper slices in a glass of cheap wine isn’t that extreme. According to Bon Appétit, the practice—made popular by TikTok user Allyssa in the Kitchen—started out almost as a joke:

Allyssa Marshall (a.k.a. Allyssa in the Kitchen), says, “It’s a running joke amongst my followers that I add jalapeños to all of my cocktails. I was sipping rosé on a TikTok livestream one night in April for happy hour, and a follower commented daring me to add a jalapeño to my rosé. I dropped a few pepper slices into my glass, gave it a sip…and just like that, spicy rosé was born.”

It’s obviously not a move one should deploy on a delicate, nuanced, dry or off-dry rosé, but I didn’t see the harm in adding a few slices to a glass of super cheap, kinda sweet pink wine. So I did. And it wasn’t bad.

I grabbed a 9-dollar bottle of Yellow Tail rosé and a serrano pepper (because the grocery store was out of jalapeño peppers). I decided to slice them thinly, then scattered eight tiny pepper rings into an old jam jar. I poured the wine on top, let everyone get to know each other for a minute, and took a sip.

It did, in fact, add dimension to the otherwise lackluster wine. It was mildly spicy on the backend, but the peppery aroma was what made it more interesting to me. It was a nice little hot and verdant bouquet. Such tasting notes aren’t completely unheard of in the wine community anyway. I’ve seen a more than one bottle that listed “bell pepper” or “jalapeño” on the label as flavors to watch for, though the flavors are obviously a little more pronounced in this context. The pepper also tempered the sweetness of the wine, making it more glug-able, which is a quality I value in cheap wine.

If nothing else, it is—as Bon Appétit points out—a “neat party trick,” especially if you have a few different peppers to play around with. Just make sure to serve some pickles alongside the peppers. You know, for the beer drinkers.

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