Tuesday, January 22, 2019

What's Jayme drinking?

And it came to pass that Jayme developed another tiki mocktail recipe in the Lagoon of Mystery. He tasted it, and it was Not Good. So he tweaked it, and it was significantly less Not Good. And thus the cycle continued, until the day came where the Not was dropped from the description, and the drink could simply be described as Good.

Ha ha, you'll forgive me a little silliness. Continuing to draw on inspiration provided by Home Bar Awards' monthly challenge--Dry January alcohol-free cocktails--I have come up with another recipe suitable for sharing (and ultimately going on my home bar's menu). My goal is to have three different mocktail recipes for those who aren't imbibing alcohol to enjoy whenever they visit the Lagoon of Mystery, but the third potential recipe still has a lot of work to do and I don't have a clear idea when it will come together. Some, like Kokoleka Wai Niu, clicked fairly early from the point of concept and only needed a few minor tweaks before attaining final form. Others, like this new one here, were a bit less cooperative:

By Jayme Blaschke
2 oz. Rooibos tea (triple strangth)
2 oz. Ginger beer
1 oz. Coconut water
0.5 oz. Lime juice
0.5 oz. Tamarind syrup

Combine all ingredients in shaker with a cup of crushed ice (don't overdo the ice—remember there's no alcohol to induce melting). Shake vigorously to combine. Strain into poco grande glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with scored lime wedge and candied ginger on a pick.

This one turned out somewhat differently than I initially envisioned, but that's all part of the creative process, isn't it? I began with the idea I'd do a frozen blender drink with coconut milk, but shelved that idea because I'd already used coconut milk in the Kokoleka Wai Niu, and didn't want to revisit the same ingredients so soon. With only a few non-alcoholic drinks on my home bar menu, I wanted a distinct diversity in flavor profile, mouthfeel and appearance.

Thinking over the classic tiki cocktails I like, C├ęsar's Rum Punch stood out. I like the tartness of the drink, and used that as a guide. I wanted to use rooibos tea because of it's unusual flavor profile. I brewed it triple strength, both for flavor and to increase rooibos' generally low tannin levels. Circling back to the tart flavor profile, decided to pair the rooibos with my homemade tamarind syrup, suspecting the flavors would work well together. I added lime to boost the tartness, then ginger beer (Gosling's) for carbonation and strong ginger bite. The result was so powerful sour, and not in a good way. I tried a bunch of different juices as a buffer, but either they added too much sugar, didn't mute the acid enough, or both. Finally I hit upon using coconut water as a dilution agent and dialed back the lime. Striking the right balance took a lot of trial-and-error, so much so that I got completely sick of the drink and had to put it aside for several days. Thankfully, when I came back to it I was able to strike the right balance of all the ingredients.

The resulting cocktail is a bright, crisp effervescent drink that has a complex interplay of flavors. It's a beautiful, fruity crimson color with a lightly foaming head. The tannic and tart elements combine to suggest there may be some spirit present, which is what I was hoping for, and am delighted to have achieved in small measure. It's an imperfect illusion, to be sure, but it's gratifying to achieve so many of the goals I set for myself with this recipe.

All photography by Secrets By Miss Lisa.

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