Some exploration in the produce aisle leads to a new drink.
I am pretty fortunate to live near one of the best produce markets in California – Berkeley Bowl. Basically if something is in season, they have it. One of the ingredients I have spent a lot of time experimenting with is curry leaves. They have a complex smoky nose and a very unusual flavor that is quite difficult to describe. The flavor is very powerful and sticks with the palate for a while. The curry leaf is used in a lot of southern Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, but the word “curry” here might create some false expectations of tastes. Curry powder was created to emulate the flavors of indian cooking but almost never has curry leaf in it, so don’t expect the leaves to taste anything like “curry powder”.
Like most powerful flavors you often have to mix with other strong flavors to avoid one note overwhelming the drink. After a few attempts I decided on mixing the curry leaves with Meyer lemons, which for anyone who isn’t familiar with them are basically a cross between mandarin oranges and lemons and have a very orange-blossomy nose. The result was a drink I am calling the Curried Favor.
- 1.5 oz Dark Rum
- 1 oz Canton Ginger Liqueur
- 1 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
- .25 oz Agave Nectar
- 2 Curry Leaves
Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a curry leaf for an even more smoky aromatic effect of the curry leaves.
Under normal circumstances I would say that is a lot of Canton, but there needs to be to keep the drink balanced. So far I have found this drink to be a hit with most people who are shocked at the effect of the curry leaves. So next time you happen past an asian market or a particularly well stocked produce department, grab a few leaves and start experimenting.