Ancho Chile Lemonade

Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.

Heat Scale
Submit Recipe


1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 lemons or so)
1 dried ancho chile pepper
Tequila (optional)


Squeeze juice from lemons. Microwave briefly and roll on flat surface for optimum juice flow. Pass juice through mesh strainer into pitcher to remove large pulp and seeds.

Remove stem from ancho chili pepper. Slice into thin strips and retain seeds.

Begin to heat water and sugar in a small pot. Add ancho chili strips and seeds and stir to combine. Keep stirring until a syrup forms. Pass syrup through mesh strainer into pitcher to remove ancho chili parts.

Add a few cups of ice to pitcher and fill up to two-quart mark. After cooling, serve in a sugar-rimmed glass and garnish with a lemon twist. Optionally, add up to one shot of tequila to spike lemonade.

Makes 2 quarts.