Spicy cocktail contest finalists

Did you enter the “build us a spicy cocktail” contest? In case you missed all the excitement, spice goddess Monica Bhide is hosting this contest to find the best original spicy cocktail — and I have the pleasure of judging the entries. So over the weekend, I made (and drank!) the three finalist cocktails. Here they are:

Poddy Toddy, submitted by Lamb’s Munchings & Musings

1/4 cup shots boiling water
4 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 teaspoon honey
1 thai chili, cut in half lengthwise through the stem
2 shots brandy
whipped cream
ground cardamom (optional)

Steep cardamom pods in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Strain, and stir honey into water, add the chili halves, and reheat water until hot or boiling.

Remove chili halves and reserve. Add brandy. Divide liquid between two mugs. Top each with a dollop of whipped cream, a very light dusting of ground cardamom atop the cream, and hang half a chili from the side of each mug.

Panaka Punch, submitted by Panfusine

1 oz chilled Lemon flavored Vodka
2 oz Domain de Canton Ginger liqueur
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered dry ginger
2-3 pods Cardamom (seeds lightly crushed)
1/2 a lime ( juice squeezed )
3 ounces chilled sparkling water or lime flavored seltzer

Muddle the brown sugar, cardamom seeds, ginger powder and lime juice till the sugar dissolves. add the vodka, and ginger liqueur along with the seltzer/sparkling water. Strain into glasses (rimmed with sugar if desired) & serve chilled.

Saffron Mojito, submitted by nitu didi

To make 1 cup of saffron syrup, boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water for about 6 minutes and add a pinch saffron to the sugar water mixture.

30 ml of white rum

60 ml of saffron sugar syrup
a few mint leaves
20 ml of lime juice
lots of crushed ice

In a fancy glass crush the mint leaves with the back of the spoon to emit their flavor. Add the rum, sugar syrup and the lime juice and taste. You can always make it sweeter, more sour or even more potent!!! add the crushed ice and give it a stir!!!!!!!!!!

and the winner is…..? 

Drink Recipe: Daikon Green Tea-ni

My first article for NPR’s “Kitchen Window” is running today.  It’s called “Relishing the Radish,” and if that’s how you found your way here – welcome!

Of course I couldn’t help slipping in a cocktail recipe. Originally, I had planned to use Scott Beattie’s super-pretty Gin Kimchi cocktail recipe, which features a zingy pickled daikon, but frankly it was just too darn complicated. So then I started casting about for different ways to use radishes in cocktails, each time coming back to daikon. I sifted through sake, citron vodka, ginger beer, fresh ginger, and pickled ginger before settling on gin and ginger liqueur, with fresh, un-pickled daikon.

To be honest, the fresh daikon flavor is a little too subtle in the drink for my taste. but I figured that for most folks without Teflon tastebuds, the flavor should be just about right. If you try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

Daikon Green Tea-ni

Gin is flash-infused with green tea to create this subtle sipper, which melds with earthy daikon and piquant ginger flavors.  Taste the daikon first for pungency; if the radish is very mild, use an extra couple of slices.

Makes 1 cocktail

1 green tea bag

2 ounces gin

3-5 pieces of daikon radish, peeled and sliced thin

1 ½ ounces Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

1 mint sprig, for garnish

Immerse tea bag in hot water for 10 seconds, then remove it and immerse it in the gin. Allow to steep for five minutes. Remove tea bag before proceeding to next steps.

Use a muddler or the back of a spoon to crush the pieces of daikon at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add tea-infused gin, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with mint sprig.