On a recent episode of Top Chef, the remaining chefs had to create a meal based on different beers that the judges had created. The one that stood out the most to me was Padma’s tamarind, coriander and jalapeño beer. It just sounded so tasty. Since I’m not a beer drinker, I recreated a cocktail using those three ingredients. And it was delicious! A bit of sweetness & sour from the tamarind simple syrup, the earthy/citrus notes from the coriander and spice from the jalapeño paired so well together.
Since tamarind pulp can be quite sour, it is generally combined with sugar and used in jams or sweetened drinks. It is also an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. I let the fresh jalapeño steep in the tamarind simple syrup for about an hour…the longer you can leave it in there, the better. You’ll notice that the recipe says 1 hour cook time…that’s for the simple syrup. Once that’s made, the drink comes together very fast. The syrup can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Jalapeño peppers tend to vary in spiciness so depending on how you like it, leaving the seeds in will give it more heat.
I rimmed the glass (just about a third of the way) with fresh lime then dipped it in my toasted coriander sugar.
- 1T tamarind paste
- ½c organic sugar plus ¼c for rimming the glass
- ¼c water
- 1-2 fresh jalapeños, sliced
- 1 lime
- 1T coriander seeds or 2t ground coriander
- vodka or sparkling water
- to make the simple syrup: in a small saucepan on medium heat add ½c sugar and ¼c water. Bring it to a boil stirring gently then turn off the heat. Add the spliced jalapeño and let the simple syrup cool.
- While the syrup is cooling toast the coriander. If you are using whole seeds or the ground coriander toast them in a skillet on medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until you can smell them. Keep a close eye on them so that they don't burn. (Grind the whole seeds in a spice grinder into a fine powder.) Set aside.
- Prep your glasses. On a small plate mix ¼c sugar with the toasted coriander.
- Run a small piece of cut lime around the rim of your glass-about ⅓ of the way around and dip the glass into the sugar coriander mix until the rim is coated.
- In a cocktail shaker add 2oz vodka,1oz tamarind simple syrup, 2 slices jalapeño and a squeeze of fresh lime. Add ice and shake for 30 seconds.
- Strain and pour into ice filled glasses.