Dragon Dance may sound like a power metal band, but it’s actually a jalapeño-infused gin. And according to its maker, Pennsylvania’s Revivalist Distillery, it’s the very first of its kind.

Dragon Dance Gin is clear in appearance, and has a nose ripe with pepper. Those expecting a no-holds-barred blast of jalapeño at first sip will have to wait: the first notes are ripe with soft pepper, caraway and grass, but the initial spiciness is no different from what many gins offer.

It’s not until the middle of the palate that those jalapeños make themselves known. It’s slow to build, but it’s one long burn. Really no different than biting into a thick slice of jalapeño–minus the physical jalapeño.

It’s considerably softened up by Fever Tree tonic and a lime wedge. The jalapeño still shines through, but the sweetness cuts it down from main event to fiery finale. It’s exactly what I want to be holding in my hand at some scorching summer BBQ.

Spicy spirits are all too often one-note wonders that use a fast-and-cheap dose of heat as a gimmick. But Dragon Dance Gin is the very opposite of that approach. Its high heat is balanced out by nuance and a complex build time. Just know that it doesn’t pull its punches–if you’re the type to pick jalapeños off your tacos, you might want to keep your distance.

— 43% ABV
— $39.99

CE Rating: ★★★

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