A peek at Junoon’s spice room

I finally found a bar that loves spices in cocktails as much as I do:  the bar at Junoon.

Although the restaurant is its own brand of Indian Nouveau-Fabulous, they throw spices into their cocktails like nobody’s business. So far my favorites have been the Ginger Rose (gin, lychee, egg white, fresh ginger), and the Fall Daiquiri, which is made with muddled spices. Check out the drink menu here, although it’s not quite up to date with the cocktails being served at the bar now, like the spring-seasonal Rhubarb Cooler.

But something blew me away even more than the drinks:  the spice room, hidden downstairs. Check it out in the photos below. On one wall, they’ve even posted their various recipes for curry mixes used in the restaurant. I didn’t think publishing those pages on the Internet would be quite fair.  You’ll have to go check it out for yourself.

Trend-spotting: Curry Cocktails

Photo credit: Erwin Schoonderwaldt (via Flickr)

The April issue of Bon Appetit magazine arrived over the weekend (I was a Gourmet subscriber – and although I honestly have nothing against Bon App, I still feel a little stab of resentment every time the unasked-for substitute shows up in the mailbox). As I was leafing through, the page serendipitously fell open to a recipe for Curry-Spiced Bloody Marys.

It’s an otherwise standard recipe (tomato juice, vodka, lemon and lime juices, salt and pepper, celery-stick garnish), but it also calls for two unusual ingredients:  balsamic vinegar, and “2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons” of Madras curry powder. (I’ll assume that 3 full tablespoons would have overpowered.)

I seem to be all but stumbling over curry-spiked cocktails lately!  At the Cocktail All-Stars event, I was handed a Delhi Daisy, made with tequila, elderflower, lemon, curry simple syrup, and aromatic bitters. (I later learned it was the brainchild of Misty Kalkofen, of Boston’s Drink).

Just days later, I was sent a press release for AGAINN, in Washington D.C. And tucked in among a number of innovative drinks was The Bare-Knuckle Boxer, described as follows:  “house-blended madras curry powder infused into John L. Sullivan Irish Whisky, R&W Orchard Apricot liqueur, Dolin Dry, and Peychaud’s Bitters.” 

Hmm, I thought:  here’s someone mixing up their own spices, and then infusing them into a base spirit. Very different approach from Misty’s simple syrup approach. But wait…why did it sound so familiar?  And then it hit me:  a few months back, I interviewed Justin Guthrie of Central Michel Richard, also in D.C.  He was all kinds of fired up about a recent experiment utilizing sous-vide technology from the kitchen, which he’d used to concoct a  curry powder “super-infused” bourbon.  The end result:  an exotic whiskey sour

Though I’m not exactly a sous-vide expert, what I do know is that it’s a method of slow-cooking. In other words, not exactly curry in a hurry.