Taking the classic Aviation as a starting point, the Kitty Hawk Express' floral, slightly effervescent profile is a perfect balance of sweet, tart, and spicy. The heat is added with Snakebite, an infusion of habanero and jalapeño peppers in silver tequila. The use of Mexican Sprite (made with cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup) is key, as it provides a crisper taste to the overall drink. Constructing the cocktail requires a technique called a short shake, which you can read about here. Crushed ice adds texture and proper dilution to this fast drinker.
Kitty Hawk Express (Nathan Robertson, 2015)
Gin 1.5 oz
St. Germain Elderflower .5 oz
Creme de Violet .5 oz
Snakebite ~ .25 oz (to taste)
Orange Bitters (Regans') 2 dashes
Fresh Lemon Juice .75 oz
Mexican Sprite top off
Add all ingredients except Sprite to shaker and short shake. Strain into collins glass and fill half of remaining volume with crushed ice. Top with Sprite and garnish with orange twist.
The recipe for Snakebite is a simple one but also somewhat inexact due to the variable intensity of the jalapeños and habaneros used, so the infusion time may need to be adjusted. Use your own discretion given how much heat you like in your drinks. You don't need to make much, a little of this stuff goes a long way.
Snakebite (Raffi Jergerian, 2015)
Silver Tequila 2 cups
Jalapeños 3 jalapeños, sliced
Habaneros 2 habaneros, sliced
Slice peppers and place into sealable container with tequila. Let infuse for up to two days. Taste periodically. Once the tequila has the level of heat you desire, strain out the peppers.