Sweet Heat

How to Improvise a Cocktail, Rick Martinez Style

In the latest episode of 'Sweet Heat,' Rick Martinez creates three summer cocktails on the fly.

July 20, 2022

Whether he’s pairing coconut shrimp with a pineapple-habanero salsa or drizzling fried chicken with hot honey, Resident Rick Martinez is all about sweet heat—after all, that is the name of his show. In the latest episode, our host faces a somewhat daunting task: Using ingredients from the local market, Martinez must improvise three spicy summer drinks. To complicate things even further? He has to make them in the comfort of his sparsely equipped AirBnB—meaning no fancy barware or tools allowed.

So, how did the Mi Cocina author approach this on-the-fly assignment? “One of my favorite ways to cook is to go to the market and let the market tell me what it wants me to make,” he explains in the video. “I don’t want to follow a recipe to make a drink.”

After choosing his ingredients—a vast array that included everything from fresh coconut water to chiles and cinnamon sticks—Martinez built two cocktails and one mocktail, each with its own distinct vibe and flavor profile. The first drink, a refreshing coconut-lime cocktail, features bourbon (or whatever liquor you have on hand!) and spicy fresh ginger. The alcohol-free hibiscus mocktail, meanwhile, gets its punch from a jalapeño-infused simple syrup and a mixture of muddled lime and mint. A grapefruit-habanero shandy rounds out the trio, with its balanced notes of smoky mezcal and sweet citrus juice.

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To learn how Martinez put together these drinks (along with other tips, like how to cut a perfect wedge of citrus or make crushed ice in a pinch), you can watch the full video above. Or, to find the full roster of his Sweet Heat recipes, click here.

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Anabelle Doliner

Written by: Anabelle Doliner

Staff Editor