As part of my ongoing cocktail experimentations and investigations, I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with cocktail books. You may see me now and again in the Manchester branch of Waterstones leafing through the boozy books. These books are great for a bit of inspiration on how to twist and trial things, but sometimes you come across something so perfect it’s not for changing.
One of my recent purchases is a rather wonderful tome called “Good Things to Drink” by Ryan Chetiyawardana, which has some very interesting and decadent recipes to try out.
The one that first jumped out to me was the fantastically named ‘Deadly Nightshade’, which uses the unusual ingredient of aubergine. This really is perfect as it comes, so while I can’t take any credit for it whatsoever, I wanted to share with you.
Ingredients – aubergine syrup & aubergine crisps
- 2 medium aubergines
- 240g demerara sugar
- 200ml water
- Pinch sea salt
Method – Aubergine syrup
- Split one of the aubergines lengthways
- Sprinkle the cut side with 20g of the sugar
- Roast in a medium oven for 20 minutes or until soft and lightly golden
- Blitz in a blender till smooth with 200g of sugar, and the 200ml of water
- When smooth, pass through a sieve and store in an airtight container in the fridge (it’ll keep for up to three days)
Method – Aubergine crisps
- Halve the other aubergine lengthways and thinly slice
- Place your slices on a baking tray, sprinkle the slices with the remaining 20g of sugar and a pinch of salt
- Bake in a low oven for 40 minutes, turning once halfway
- Once crisp and golden you are set, put them side in some Tupperware
Ingredients – Deadly Nightshade
- 40ml golden rum
- 20ml French vermouth (I went for the always wonderful Lillet blanc)
- 25ml fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar syrup
- 25ml egg white
- 25ml aubergine syrup (as made above)
- Aubergine crisps (as made above) for garnish
Method – Deadly Nightshade
- Add all the ingredients apart from your aubergine crisps to a shaker without ice
- Shake your ingredients to emulsify for a good 15 seconds – take care here as the lack of ice will cause less of a seal on your shaker due to reduced air pressure, so keep a tight hold!
- Now fill with ice and shake again for another 10 seconds
- Double strain into your glass of choice and garnish with two or three aubergine crisps (they are perilously addictive)
A fair bit more work goes into this drink, and given the relatively short fridge life of the syrup you may have to plan ahead. But this drink really is a star. Light, tasty, foamy… and the aubergine crisps are a sweet and salty revelation. Enjoy!