When I blogged about my foray into mixology fusion, in addition to the group that were quite thrilled about the idea of a boozy version of the traditional South indian Chukku Kaapi, there were an equal number of people who requested a mocktail version. The immediate blunt first thought that replied mentally was... but that is just chilled regular chukku kaapi...& nothing could have been further from reality..
A lot of fruits have flavors that cannot to 'unlocked' by a water based solvent. They require a chemical such as ethanol to completely dissociate & be perceived by the tastebuds & the nose. Next time you hear someone extolling the virtues of the nose & bouquet of a great bottle of wine, you know why! Ditto with fruit & other flavored liqueurs, the alcohol helps unlock some flavors that are otherwise hidden simply because the H2O in our Saliva cannot dissolve them to release their aroma to be analyzed by the nose.
The reason that so many Creme liqueurs are in the market today is not because of their myriad flavors. Its the textural experience of sipping them. Creme liqueurs are exactly that..Creamy, with the thick 'custardy' texture of melted high fat vanilla ice cream.
Coming back to Chukku Kaapi. The original beverage made by countless Indian moms, is designed to be much more lighter & diluted than a traditional tumbler of filter Kaapi mainly to aid digestion during the convalescent period following delivery. Certainly NOT what a creamy rich coffee mocktail should feel like on the tongue, or taste.
All in all, I had a ball creating this drink. Since someone had asked for a chocolate mocha angle, I went off searching for a chocolate based syrup.. Yes, I found it in the grocery in a 1 litre bottle.. since I had no clue if I would use that much, decided against buying it & just ordered my self a small coffee with lotsa extra syrup..on the side! Just as well, that horrid thing was made using a sweetener!. Lesson # 1.. Never start off with sweeteners, refined sugar is artificial enough for our systems to handle!
So... brewed an espresso with an additional tablespoon of cocoa powder. The end result had just the right amount of chocolate nuances.
To make this mocktail, you need: (makes 1 serving, multiply according to how many you need)
30 ml espresso coffee (follow directions above for a choco-mocha)
30 ml Fresh ginger root extract
15 ml Ginger syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 cup light cream or half & half
plus extra for frothing
1 mini martini glass (sugaring the rim optional)
To make Ginger extract, finely grate a 2 inch piece of ginger & squeeze out the juice. allow to stand for 5 minutes before decanting. Discard the white residue at the bottom.
To make the ginger syrup, combine 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger ( or 1 tbsp of powdered dry ginger in 1/4 cup of water. Boil till the syrup has thickened & strain into a fresh container. Chill until needed.
In a cup, combine the espresso coffee, ginger root extract and the ginger syrup. stir well. Add the cream as per your preference & chill till really cold. Heat the remaining cream for 30 s in the microwave & whip well using an aerolater (a fancy name for those battery operated milk whips that retail for $ 1.99 @ Ikea)
Decant into a Martini glass. Spoon froth over the coffee, garnish with a cocoa powder & a broken bit of dark chocolate.
Enjoy as an after dinner apertif in the company of friends.
Ginger syrup comes in handy for a LOT of other uses like a quick ginger flavored lemonade etc. To prepare this in bulk, you need:
1 cup grated Ginger
1 cup brown sugar (yields a richer flavor)
1 cup water.
Combine the sugar and water & heat till the sugar dissolves. Add the ginger & simmer for ~ 15 minutes on medium heat till the syrup thickens. Remove from heat, cool & strain into a glass container. Store in refrigerator & use as needed.