Buried treasure, colorful speech, and freedom from the confines of civilization. Who doesn’t dream a little bit about that occasionally? After all, I think all food lovers and chefs have a bit of old-school pirate in their blood. Whether we define our treasure as fresh, local produce or an obscure ingredient; we follow our maps, relentless in our quests. In the kitchen we follow codes of conduct (the cookbook) or interpret recipes and our imagination to suit our own private escape.
Strange thing about stereotypes, they have a way of being grounded in reality. In the case of pirates, pillaging and plundering were standard activities during the Spice Wars of the late 1500s and early 1600s. Spices were the treasure of the time. Nutmeg in particular was worth its weight in gold…if not more.
In honor of National Talk Like A Pirate Day I concocted a drink that celebrates all that’s fun and sexy in pirateland. It’s filled with ginger syrup (from those Caribbean Islands), chai tea (spices from the Spice Islands), and of course…rum.
To be fair, I drank something like this at a bar called Lento about three years ago. I don’t quite remember all the ingredients but the drink was so delicious I dreamed about it for three years before finally doing something about it.
Here’s my version. I call it Rum Treasure.
1 cup of water
1 cup of white sugar
½ cup peeled and thinly sliced, fresh ginger root (and maybe a touch more if you want it stronger)
Combine the sugar and water in a sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved stirring occasionally.
Add the ginger and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Pour through a strainer into a container and let cool.
1/3 cup strongly brewed black chai tea, chilled.
1.5 Tbsp of ginger syrup
Generous shot of good quality rum (I used Bacardi black label, aged 8 years).
1 tsp cream
Garnish: crystallized ginger and a pinch of garam masala spice blend
Combine tea, ginger syrup, and rum into your glass. The ginger syrup will settle on the bottom, as shown below, so take care to stir gently but thoroughly to combine the syrup. Add the cream. Combine gently.
For information on and uses for ginger click for more from Spice Sherpa.
That said, ahoy…