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A recipe for a powerful, versatile liquid pepper. Use this whenever you find something needs a little kick.

You'll need:
Some dried chili (strong ones - Bird's Eyes work nicely)
Vodka (quality doesn't matter - I use Grant's just because it says "The Exciting Vodka" on the cap)
A mortar and pestle
A jar with a lid
A sieve
A funnel
A bottle to keep the stuff in

The procedure is simple enough. Grind the chilis down to a grainy mass and transfer them to the jar. Cover them with vodka, mulch them around a little, put the cap on and leave them to soak. I recommend leaving them for eight to twelve hours if you just want to extract the "heat", more if you also want the actual chili flavour.

Next, strain the vodka out of the chilis into the bottle. Cap the bottle and mark it with signs of death and forbidding hieroglyphs. If you like, you can use the same chilis to make a second batch. It will only be about half as strong, but I've been told that may be for the best.

Although this substance has near-limitless applications, be warned that it is not a toy. The active ingredient, capsaicin, makes this essentially an edible pepper spray. The vapour rising from the bottle on a hot day can blind a man. Wash your hands immediately after any direct or up to third-degree indirect contact and do not touch any sensitive body parts until you have done so. An hour after working with this stuff, I scratched my nose with an unwashed hand. The burning did not cease until I washed it out with left-over vodka. This is serious stuff, kiddies.

That said, I recommend it in most drinks you could care to mention. Cider is especially good, though milk is mostly unaffected. If you're not sure how much to use, start with about 0.2% concentration, or one part in five hundred, then adjust the dosage to suit yourself. Always stir well. And don't put it in someone's drink as a joke.
I haven't tried using it on food, but when the alcohol boils off the capsaicin tends to leave with it, so add it towards the end of cooking, in very tiny quantities. For all applications, a pipette is a boon indeed. The more accuracy the better.

/Msg me if I've forgotten an important point of safety, hmm?

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