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“Assume Nothing!” A mantra for The Crown as we worked towards opening our doors in March of 2019, the phrase became a Menu section, encouraging our visitors to drop their preconceptions and be open to new and delicious experiences. And now it’s the title of a recipe series, for you to recreate at home. Here’s to a year of assuming nothing!

Tamarind & Makrut Lime Soda

A classic twist on a Latin American favorite.

Ingredients:

  • Makrut Lime Leaves – 4g   
  • Tamarind Puree – 340g  
  • Brown Sugar – 250g
  • White Sugar – 500g
  • Water1L  

Directions:

Pour all ingredients – the tamarind puree, sugar, water, and lime leaves into a pot and bring to a quick boil. Lower the temperature of the burner and let simmer for 20 minutes. The goal is for the lime leaves to release their acidity and sweet flavor into the mixture. Taste for sweetness; tamarind is very sour! 

Pull from the heat and strain out lime leaves. If kegging, the syrup should go through a cheese cloth as well; the tamarind puree will likely leave particulates floating around. Let cool.  

Add the syrup to sparkling water. We used a 1:16 ratio of syrup to water, but feel free to adjust to your taste preferences. Garnish with sliced lime for the benefit of the sweet lime skin aroma, and the option to squeeze it in for an extra kick. It’s the perfect refreshment for a hot summer day.

Description:

Tamarind agua fresca is a classic drink in Mexico and Central America. Tamarind is a leguminous (bean-like) fruit originally from Africa, although its flavor has become essential to a myriad of cultural cuisines. Agua de tamarindo uses a simple recipe to get all the tart tamarind flavor out of the dried tamarind pods, blending the meat of the fruit, and of course adding plenty of sugar. Sometimes the unrefined sugar is left partially undissolved, leaving a great textural contrast between the crunch of sugar crystals and the meat of the tamarind fruit. Here in Oakland, I’ve had a surprisingly hard time finding plain dried tamarind, although sweetened tamarind bricks are pretty common in the Asian markets in my neighborhood.  

For this soda, I used a single ingredient certified organic Glory Bee Tamarind Puree I was lucky enough to find in Berkeley Bowl. This is an unsweetened product, and its heavy syrupy consistency packs a ton of acidity. To cut this, I added plenty of sugar: brown sugar to add notes of molasses and caramel and refined white sugar to add plain sweetness.  

Tamarindo is often served with a wedge of lime or with some lime juice squeezed in, even though the drink doesn’t lack acidity. To mimic this, I added makrut limes, which are perfume-y, limey, and sweet. They added a great citrus finish and created some depth of flavor. Garnishing with a slice of lime brings extra lime-iness to the party.  

This is an incredibly easy recipe and a fun interpretation of a summer classic. Try it at home and let us know what you think!