At first glance, raw turmeric looks unassuming. Smaller than its cousin ginger, the knobbly orange root is easy to miss in the grocery store. But this diminutive rhizome packs a powerful punch.
For thousands of years turmeric’s prized golden hue and subtle spice has made it an essential ingredient in the cuisines of its native South East Asia. But the plant’s value isn’t just confined to the kitchen. Turmeric has also been used for millennia in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic health practice that originated on the Indian subcontinent.
Turmeric’s active component is a chemical called curcumin, which is responsible for turmeric’s signature vivid yellow hue. In India it’s commonly used to make a golden milk drink called haldi doodh – a warm brew of milk, turmeric, honey, spices and black pepper.
In the last few years the turmeric latte has found its way onto the menu of progressive Australian cafes. An updated version of traditional haldi doodh, the turmeric latte has become a mainstay, most often made with nut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and occasionally coffee.
It was only a matter of time before the combination of coffee and turmeric made it to cocktail menus. At QT Sydney, a turmeric-infused Espresso Martini is proving popular among patrons of the hotel’s cocktail bar, Gilt Lounge. Turmeric “it’s very on trend,” says Jared Thibault, beverage director at QT Resorts.
“To make a Turmeric Espresso Martini, you first need to infuse good-quality vodka like Ketel One with turmeric,” says Thibault. “Peel and grate a fresh turmeric root, add it to the bottle of vodka, leave for four to seven days, and then strain.”
The turmeric “adds a soft spice similar to ginger and peppercorn,” says Thibault. “As long as it is used in small doses, it can help balance a cocktail that may be a bit too sweet.”
Here’s how to make a Turmeric Espresso Martini at home.
Turmeric Espresso Martini
Makes one serve. Approx. 1.5 standard drinks.
30ml turmeric-infused Ketel One vodka
20ml Patrón XO Cafe
10ml organic agave
30ml organic espresso
Shake vigorously and strain into a coupe glass rimmed with turmeric sugar (three parts sugar, one part turmeric). Finish by placing a star anise in the centre of the glass.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with World Class Drinking. Drink responsibly.