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For anyone who’s lived within a three-block radius of Cambridge’s Miracle of Science (I’ve been a member of that lucky group for 10 years now), it’s hard not to be a fan and follower of co-owners Chris Lutes and Matthew Curtis. With each of their new locations — first Harvard Square’s grilled-pizza joint Cambridge 1 (there’s now a second Cambridge 1 in the Fenway) and then Central’s lounge Middlesex — I waited with bated breath until their minimalist doors opened. But oddly, I’d never made the trek to their 12-year-old Boston outpost Audubon Circle until this past year — and it wasn’t until this past week that I discovered the best food-and-drink pairing of the summer.

“We wanted to create a man’s man’s summer cocktail,” says Lutes of Audubon’s housemade habanero-infused guava margarita ($10), which gives firewater a whole new meaning. They start with the world’s hottest peppers and let them soak in white tequila for three days until a mere whiff puts tears in your eyes. Add to that a splash of Cointreau, a good dose of guava nectar, a refreshing spritz of lime juice, a handful of muddled cilantro leaves, and sweeten the deal with brown-sugar syrup; what you end up with is an inferno — albeit a very tasty one — in a glass. It looks like a girlie drink, but it’ll put more hair on your chest than a flaming shot of 151.

Now, normally you eat some spicy food and then you need an ice-cold drink to cool the flames. But at Audubon, it’s the reverse: make sure you have an order of grilled shrimp with citrus dipping sauce ($9) waiting on the table before you take your first sip of the margarita. Eat one of the marinated and perfectly charred plump shrimp and the sweet-savory sauce (it’s a smooth purée with apricot, pineapple, and orange) covers your mouth with a sugar coating that gets you ready for your next sip of fire. Hell never tasted so good.

Available at Audubon Circle, 838 Beacon Street, in Boston. Call 617.421.1910.

  Topics: Hot Plate , Culture and Lifestyle, Beverages, Food and Cooking,  More more >
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