While our beloved Broncos didn’t make it to the big game, we still wouldn’t miss the Super Bowl on February 5—it’s as solid excuse as any to day-drink, consume far too many chicken wings, and tune out for a few hours.

This year, we’re celebrating Colorado’s homegrown talent via food and drink: Instead of beer, we’re pouring an unconventional cocktail starring Syntax Spirits’ Perky Pepper vodka, and pairing it with crowd-pleasing (and dead easy) glazed nuts in sweet-spicy Hacienda Maize pepper jelly.

Green Chile Apple Cider

Syntax’s 2017 Good Food Award-winning chile-infused vodka is made from wheat sourced from within 100 miles of the Greeley-based distillery, plus a combo of five different chiles. Of course, it’s smooth, spicy, slightly vegetal flavor would make it a natural candidate for a Bloody Mary, but we prefer it against the sweetness of apple cider, as in this cocktail that Syntax CEO, Heather Bean, shared with us. The drink is equally delicious hot or over ice. You can find Syntax Spirits at these local retailers.

Juice from half a lemon
Pinch of pumpkin spice
1 cup apple cider or juice
1 shot Perky Pepper vodka

Mix the lemon juice, pumpkin spice, and apple juice. Heat, if desired, and then add the Perky Pepper. (If serving cold, add the Perky Pepper and shake over ice until chilled.) Garnish with a cinnamon stick or lemon wheel and enjoy.

—Photo courtesy of Hacienda Maize

Pecans Picante

These sweet, spicy pecans are the perfect party snack. You can use any variety of locally made Hacienda Maize Jammin’ Jelly for this recipe—Mira Sol Verde (mild), Jalapeño (hot), or Jalapeño Diablo (extra hot)—to tailor the spice level to your liking. We also love the piquant pepper jams served atop cream cheese with crackers. Find Hacienda Maize at retailers such as the Preservery, Marczyk’s, Capitol Heights Pharmacy & Liquor, and Caboodle Gifts.

1/2 cup Jammin’ Jelly
1 egg white, at room temperature
Pinch salt
1 pound pecan halves (or another nut of your liking)

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the Jammin’ Jelly in a bowl and stir until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Combine the Jammin’ Jelly, the egg mixture, and the salt. Add the pecans, stirring gently to coat. Spread the nuts evenly over the prepared sheet, drizzling with any remaining coating.

Roast the nuts for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so to avoid scorching. The nuts will still be sticky when hot, but will become crunchier and easier to separate as they cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.