How to create a festive drink whenever
By Nigel Spencer
I always try to come up with a signature drink at the restaurant that reflects the season to create a more festive mood.
This year I decided to call my creation “Better Mus’ Come” which echoes the sentiment resilient Jamaicans embrace with regard to the year ahead.
Though the recipe may seem lengthy at first glance, it usually turns out to being quite simple since most of the ingredients are usually already prepared and on hand in most Jamaican households at this time of the year.
Even if it is not, it is worth preparing for the holidays as the possibilities for different concoctions using these ingredients are endless. You can try rum, tequila, mezcal or gin instead of the vodka that is called for in the recipe.
The sorrel and ginger beer recipes yield large quantities, because once they get a taste, before you know it, it’s done!
They are also quite a bit sweeter than your mama’s version, but this is necessary when mixing with alcohol and lime for proper balance.
I would like to wish all a safe, happy and festive New Year, and as we all know too well, better mus’ come!
BETTER MUS’ COME
1 half lime
2 ounces vodka or rum
4oz ginger beer (recipe follows)
2oz Sorrel Drink (recipe follows)
Dash of Bitters
Squeeze lime into shaker and drop in half lime. Add ice to top. Pour in the vodka, ginger beer and sorrel. Shake well and serve strained into a martini glass or with ice into a Collins glass. Add a dash of bitters.
12 oz ginger
2 quarts water
6 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice and peel of 1 lime
Remove skin from ginger and grate. Put water, ginger, sugar and cinnamon stick in a pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add lime juice and peel and vanilla. Leave overnight to cool completely and to allow flavors to mature. Strain into serving pitcher and refrigerate.
2 lbs dry sorrel
1 quart water
3 cups sugar
Put water, cloves and sorrel in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and leave overnight to steep. Strain into serving pitcher and refrigerate.
Nigel Spence, a Culinary Institute of America alumnus, was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Nigel freelanced at the Television Food Network for 3 years where he worked with culinary luminaries such as Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse. Chef Spence has appeared twice on Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he emerged the victor in cook offs against the Food Network star and was featured on CBS when he appeared on Tony’s Table as well as ABC’s Neighborhood Eats, NBC’s The Today Show , Sirius’ Everyday Living with Martha Stewart and TVFN’s Chopped. The acclaimed and New York Times-reviewed Ripe Kitchen and Bar is Mr Spence’s first entrepreneurial endeavour.