Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Curry Passionfruit Vodka Cocktail

We were ready for action, when we showed up 20 minutes early for our reservation at Spring restaurant. My favorite foxy boy was in town and the master plan was to have an appetizer/little bitty drinky at the bar and bask in the atmosphere of this swank joint before diving in to the food. (That would have been a much better joke if you knew in advance that the restaurant was built in a former bathhouse and that the dining room is the old swimming pool. But you know, whatever.)

It was a balmy night (my favorite kind. Natch) and we were parched (well, as parched as two people who had just had seemingly alcohol free mojitos at an outdoor bar down the street tend to be), but alas, as it always seems to happen in these situations, we were confounded about what to drink. Solution? Ask the bartender!

And boy-howdy did she do us a major favor by offering up the Passion-Fruit and Curry Vodka. Can you say WOW? We sure did. It was a basic simple syrup (sugar melted into water so there is no grit at the bottom of your bev) seasoned liberally (and I do mean liberally) with curry powder and passionfruit. Cocktail adventurers that we are, we could not resist. It was artfully mixed with a nice neutral vodka and how did it taste? Well baby, it was whiz-bang wake-up-little-Suzy fantastic-o-rama. Sweet, yet not cloying, spicy and heady, icy and smooth, it was, in fact, the ultimate drink. Not something you swig, just something you sip on a sultry night. Very grown up, very nirvana.

While looking up some info on the venerable Spring (highly recommended Asian-esque seafood. Pictures still trapped on my camera, so I wont bore you with a review) I was tickled to see that Chef McClain had cooked a meal at a
James Beard Foundation dinner in 2002 that included: "Spring roll with lobster and curry-passionfruit sauce." Hows that for finding new uses for tasty concoctions? From Lobster to Vodka that sauce can do it all.

I will give you my recreation recipe. I assume the Spring-sters whip up their own curry powder (and passionfruit coulis for that matter) but my version seems to work too. Drink it at your next cookout, or with any light seafood appetizer. Enjoy!

1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons madras curry powder
2 teaspoons
passionfruit syrup
8 oz. best quality vodka
1/2 lime
Starfruit or orange segment for garnish

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the curry powder. Allow to cool and stir in the passionfruit syrup. Can be make a week in advance.

In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 tablespoons of the curry syrup, 4 oz of vodka and a squeeze of lime. Shake vigorously and pour into glasses. Rub the lime around the rim and garnish with starfruit slice.

Makes two drinks and lots of curry-syrup


Passion fruit juice is a good source of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and carotenoids (vitamin A). It is rich-flavored and strongly, but pleasantly aromatic.

Review of Spring from Zagats: A “multi-sensory experience” that’s “everything a gourmet restaurant should be”, this Wicker Park New American seafood “standout” has surveyors swooning over chef-partner Shawn McClain’s “subtle, savory” and “sublime” dishes offered with “high-class service” in an “über-cool”, “Zen” “converted bathhouse."

If you are in the area, the
Taste of Chicago runs through July 4th!


hi rachael

that sounds really fabulous...btw have tagged you for the cook next door meme...hope you don't mind, but would love to know your responses ;)


very interesting. do you ever make your own madras? I am such a curry snob so I always make my own powders, unless i am being lazy in which case I have been known to buy pre blended garam masala.
J - Thank you for the tag! I am excited to play. It may be a few days, but I will get to it for sure.

Sam - I do make my own. Part of the point of this blog (after the big main reason) is that I can be the worst ever about writing things down, so this forces me to do just that. I'm all about a pinch of this and a pinch of that, so I have no clue what ends up in my mixtures. I should put it on my list to pay more attention to! I do remember really liking a few they sold at...oh dear, its a middle eastern spice store on Clement in the inner Richmond...darn, and its good too. Well, I forget the name, but if you have any clue where Im talking about, check theirs out...

It's HAIGS. How could I have forgotten?


It's along time since I went to Haigs but I know they sell lots of British Goodies too so maybe I should pay them another visit one of these days?
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