Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kokum Syrup

Nestled in between East 6th and 5th streets in the East Village of Manhattan is a spice lovers oasis: Dual Specialty Store. I could (and often do) lose myself in there for hours exploring the shelves lined with teas, spices, and herbs from every locale imaginable. I'm always bound to come across something new-and on my past trip this something new was Kokum. Kokum is native to India and is a member of the mangosteen family. It is lip puckeringly tart and is often used to make sherbet or in sweet curries to add a depth of flavor. I pair this syrup with seltzer to make a refreshing spritzer, or in a Kokum Cooler (recipe below). Enjoy!

Kokum Syrup

  • 1 cup dried kokum
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • pinch cumin powder (optional)
  • 5-6 cardamom pods (optional)

1. Rinse the dried kokum in warm water and let sit overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.
2. Extract the pulp from the softened fruit by squishing them in between your fingers and discard the skins. Strain the mixture to get rid of any solid bits.
3. Boil 2 cups of water and slowly whisk sugar into it. Add kokum juice and cumin and cardamom if you are feeling daring and stir until the mixture starts to thicken-about three minutes. Remove cardamom pods, bottle and refrigerate.

Kokum Spritzer

  • 1 oz kokum syrup
  • Seltzer
  • Lemon (garnish)

Kokum Cooler 

This cocktail is the beverage of choice at the Tote on the Turf, a racetrack side restaurant in Mumbai.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1 oz kokum syrup
  • Lemon lime soda
  • Seltzer
  • Lemon slice (garnish)
Fill glass with ice and pour in vodka and kokum syrup. Mix well with cocktail stirrer and top with 1/2 lemon lime soda 1/2 seltzer.

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