Extreme Eats

Extreme Eats: Ghost Pepper Margarita at El Big Bad

Houston is heating up this spring, but can you handle the heat from one the city's hottest margaritas?

By Megha Tejpal April 3, 2015

The ghost pepper is considered one of the hottest in the world.

Image: Shutterstock

I love food. And not just food itself—drinks, restaurants, bars, the act of getting together to share a meal, I love it all. When it comes to cocktails, appetizers, entrees and desserts, I have pretty much seen it all, consumed it all. But mine is an extreme personality and I want to see more, eat more, experience more. Lately, to that end, I'm on the hunt for some of Houston's most extreme eats—featured menu items at Houston hot spots that go beyond the norm.

Give me a cupcake...dusted in gold. Give me fish...but make it poisonous fugu. Give me a chocolate covered strawberry...injected with Grand Marnier. We know that Houston is home to some of the most dynamic restaurant chefs, pastry chefs, and bartenders, but what secrets do they have up their sleeves? Check in with me every week as I uncover explosive creations that will no doubt take your dining experience to the next level.

El Big Bad
419 Travis St.

This week I was looking for a little spice in my life. The days are getting longer and patio time is a must as Houston warms up. I wanted to know what restaurant could bring the heat with a fiery margarita, hotter than even their spiciest salsa. I love margaritas as much as the next guy, but even with salt I find them tart and sweet. I prefer the combination of sweet and spicy, like mango with jalapeño or agave nectar with habanero peppers.

Downtown Houston's multi-level patio bar El Big Bad has created the perfect combination of a sweet and spicy margarita...and by spicy I mean fiery hot. The ghost pepper, or bhut jolokia, originated in India and is considered one of the world's hottest peppers. The look of the pepper is just as striking as the taste: long and thin, with a bold reddish-orange color.

The ghost pepper margarita at El Big Bad comes complete with ghost pepper tequila, muddled ghost pepper, and garnished with—what else?— a ghost pepper.

Image: Megha Tejpal

El Big Bad's ghost pepper margarita's intense flavor comes primarily from the pepper itself: ghost pepper-infused tequila plus fresh ghost pepper muddled in the glass with the seeds. To that, El Big Bad adds agave nectar, lime juice, hot sauce (yes, hot sauce) and garnishes the entire hellish concoction with fresh jalapenos, and you guessed it, a ghost pepper. With so many ghost peppers, it's only natural you look like you've seen a ghost after taking a sip of this dangerously delicious cocktail: at first gulp, it's refreshing, but shortly after you feel the burn begin to trickle down from your tongue all the way to your toes.

El Big Bad is known for their large variety of flavored tequilas and creative Mexican fare from chef Jonathan Jones (including its brunch, which we spotlighted in this month's issue as one of the 10 best Sunday brunches in town). Guests are able to choose from a list of infused tequilas (most not nearly as spicy as the ghost pepper version) and muddled fruit to create unusual margarita concotions. You could have a different margarita for each day of the rest of 2015 if you wanted to—though I recommend starting with something simple and working your way up to the big guns like that ghost pepper marg.



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