New chilli, pepper and tequila spirit brings fire to UK bars


A spirit combining pepper and chilli spice with tequila has been introduced in the UK after the success of trials in bars in London.

Xilli, which is pronounced “Chilli”, has been launched by Woodland Radicle Brands, inspired by Aztec traditions and flavours, with distribution through drinks supplier Amathus.

It is a spirit infused with a blend of spicy cayenne peppers, hot habanero chillies and a generous dash of tequila. It is promoted as a cocktail ingredient and for serving as a shot, with a long and fiery finish, or as a Xilli Fire Bomb with Red Bull.

With the bottle bearing the image of the Xilli sun stone, the design is based on the ancient Aztec calendar stones with a sun god at the centre.

Steve Wilson, co-founder of Woodland Radicle Brands, said: “This summer, we began seeding Xilli in bars, clubs and restaurants in London. The response has been brilliant from style bars to high-energy accounts, including listings with Lab, Sketch, Peyote, Mode, Buddha Bar, Casa Negra and House of Wolf.”

Promotional teams known as Xilli Warriors, wearing feathered headdresses and Aztec print skirts, have been roaming the city at night, visiting selected bars and clubs such as McQueen and The Macbeth in Shoreditch and O Bar and Freedom in Soho.

The peppery notes and aromatic spices have also inspired top London bartenders to create their own signature Xilli “Hot-tails”. At El Camion in Soho, the legendary Dick Bradsell has created a Xilli Pina Rita, mixing Xilli with tequila blanco, lime juice, pineapple and sugar syrup.

Marco Piroli at Lab invented Sweet Xilli of Mine: Xilli with fresh lime juice, passion fruit and vanilla sugar, over crushed ice with Aperol, all garnished with a mint sprig, passion fruit and fresh chilli.

Leading mixologist Douglas Ankrah has used Xilli to twist a classic Bloody Mary into becoming a red-hot Scary Mary.

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