I want to make jalapeno or habanero infused tequila for a friend's Christmas present. I'd like to leave them in the bottle for presentation.

I've seen recipes only recommend a 24 hour maximum infusion time. Is there a way to leave them in without causing the flavour to develop in undesirable ways from over-infusion? Is over-infusion even possible in this circumstance?

  • 3
    Do not underestimate the heat you will infuse into the alcohol in a short time. An experiment with chopped thai chilies (compared to a smaller amount of vodka, though, since the intent was freezing the chilies in cold alcohol) yielded a liquid too spicy for most to drink within hours. Habaneros are comparable to thai chilies in capsaicin content. Alcohol does not have the slow-release effect of a fatty, rich sauce on the tongue - quite the opposite in fact. Taste carefully, diluting the sample if in doubt. Nov 29, 2017 at 4:02
  • @rackandboneman that's a good point. My suggestion should perhaps be modified a little to not use as hot a chilli if you are leaving one in. I tend to grow a lot of Apache, which if left to really ripen can end up quite thin-skinned and attractively red. Because I grow them and because they're not massively hot I can experiment with them.
    – Chris H
    Nov 29, 2017 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


The hotter the pepper, the shorter the infusion time, and the less time for the tequila to pick up any unwanted green vegetal flavor the thick skin of a jalapeño can impart (serious eats)

For presentation you could possibly get away with one nice-looking, thin-skinned (and not too hot) red chilli in the bottle, after straining the tequila off the real habañeros. I'd give this a go (or even make 3 small bottles: strained; unstrained; strained with decorative chilli) it if it was for drinking myself, but for a gift I'd probably either:

  • say it's for drinking soon, or
  • decorate the outside of the bottle with a couple of nice-looking dried chillies tied on.

I have found that in some infused spirits, leaving the fruit in too long can cause unwanted flavours (e.g. rhubarb, which picked up just the vegetable flavour my link warns about) while in others you can leave it as long as you like (e.g. blackcurrant).


If you also are willing to test the drink infusion, I suggest an iterative experimentation. Make 5 smaller batches and test them every day.

If 24 hours is indeed the max, you still have plenty of time to make it before presenting the gift. If a week is good, you will also know. The tinctures that you stop early (assuming they are ok) can always be added back to the final mix...

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