Cayenne chili is a hot pepper from the Capsicum family, and it builds its popularity on its hot taste that many people like. Chili comes from Mexico and it began to spread around the world after Columbus' expeditions, like many other spices. Columbus and his crew gave the English name pepper to chili because the hot taste associated them with the taste of pepper. Most of the world's chili production is led by China, who produces 17 tons of chili annually.
The hot taste of chili comes from an ingredient called Capsaicin, which increases the level of spiciness by increasing its concentration. Capsaicin is a natural alkaloid that a plant produces to defend itself against predators and germs, more specifically, filamentous fungi that are transmitted by insects and attack chili peppers.
Cayenne chili is a moderately hot pepper used as a spice for food and beverages. The peppers are pointed, narrow, and red in color, often curved because of the way that they hang from the stem. The peppers are dried and grinded to form a powder-like spice, and when they are whole, the seeds from the pepper bring the most spiciness.
The first evidence of the existence of chili peppers was discovered by archaeologists at excavations in Mexico, dating back nine thousand years BC. Chili was considered a sacred plant and used in various rituals, medicine, cuisine and other activities. Chili was so respected that the ancient Incas used it as a monetary asset and the Aztecs gifted chili peppers as gifts of utmost importance.
Capsaicin does not only give the peppers their hotness, but it also contains special healing properties, which makes chili peppers one of the healthiest foods in the world. Chili improves digestion, works as an anti-inflammatory, promotes weight loss, helps diabetics, reduces cholesterol and prevents blood clotting. The red color of the chili pepper testifies to the high content of beta-carotene, and vitamins C and A.
Chili pepper is used in cooking as a spice and it is popular in Mexican, Thai, Indian, Italian and Filipino cuisine. It is also used in making hot sauces, spice mixtures, hot oils and desserts, such as chocolate with chili. In the last couple of years, the popularity of spicy beverages has increased, and chili has found its place in most cocktails and beverages that carry a spicy note. It is used as an infusion in bitters, vodka and tequila cocktails, but also in hot drinks such as teas and punches. When preparing hot/spicy cocktails it is important to pay attention to the fact that the beverage is cold so that the hotness/spiciness of the chili pepper doesn't take over all the other flavors in the cocktail.