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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Happy "Cinco De Mayo" Hour: Tamarind Rye Sour

It's Cinco de Mayo! Let's celebrate using a delicious fruit from Mexico! 

I love tamarind. Tangy, sour, and a flavor unlike anything else, tamarind is the fruit of the tamarind tree, native to tropical Africa. 

Tamarind pods

Over the course of its long history, tamarind has traveled to India, Thailand, the Middle East, Mexico and Latin America, among other places. In short, it’s everywhere. And do you know where else it should travel?

Into your drink.

Maybe you’ve encountered tamarind in block form at your local grocery store, or maybe you’ve even stopped by Bazaar Spices and seen the tamarind candy or tamarind powder. Hopefully you love tamarind’s sour bite, but there is a chance that you greet tamarind’s punch with more revulsion than fond feelings. It’s ok; tamarind is not for everyone.

But, if you want to step outside your norm for a bit, why not blend the sour tamarind with a woodsy, lemony rye whiskey? I recently came across a recipe for a Tamarind Whiskey Sour from Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, but, being more of a rye girl, decided to give it a whirl with tamarind powder from Bazaar Spices and a bottle of rye from Cordial. Although I made it on a rainy day, this Tamarind Rye Sour would be equally content being sipped on a hot summer’s evening. With the slightest tang from tamarind in the drink and a tamarind powder/sugar rimmed glass, this drink is at once bracing and refreshing. I thought about using a lime wedge to garnish, but really liked the sweet aroma from the orange slice as I drank the puckery concoction. Your call.

Tamarind Rye Sour

Note: To make simple syrup boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Let boil for a few minutes then remove from heat and cool. Syrup will keep in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator for a really long time. (I’ve had mine in there since January.)

For one drink:

1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon tamarind powder
1 orange slice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (see note)
1/4 teaspoon tamarind powder, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lime, or more to taste
2 ounces rye (I used Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, but use your favorite)
Lots of ice

Mix the sugar and 1/8 teaspoon tamarind powder in a small bowl. Squeeze a bit of juice from the orange slice onto a plate. First dip the rim of a short glass into the juice, then into the tamarind sugar, and set aside.

Stir the simple syrup and ¼ teaspoon tamarind powder together. Taste and, if you want more sour, add a little more tamarind powder. Add the simple syrup mixture, lime juice, and rye to a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake for about 15 seconds. If you don't have a cocktail shaker, just stir everything together in a separate glass. Fill you drinking glass with ice and strain the contents of the shaker into the glass. Top with the orange slice and serve.


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