Lemongrass Ginger Jalapeño Cooler boasts the anti-inflammatory and digestive aids of ginger, plus the added health benefits of lemongrass and jalapeño, making it a powerful detox drink. Add vodka or tequila for a refreshing cocktail with benefits!
Excitement mounts as we realize there’s a confluence of nature ushering in the momentous occasion that brings us to beautiful Santa Cruz, California on this Friday the 13th. Celebrations surrounding College Girl’s graduation from UC Santa Cruz promise to be intensified by the real and imagined hyper magnetic influence of a full moon coinciding with attempts to laugh in the face of superstitions surrounding the calendar date. As if further cause for good cheer were necessary to make this a truly outstanding weekend, it also happens be be my brother’s birthday, Flag Day, and Father’s Day. Wow!
In honor of all these events, I thought a special elixir was in order. Earlier in the week, I made a batch of Lemongrass Ginger Jalapeño Cooler from Melissa’s The Great Pepper Cookbook. With the healing qualities of ginger – time-tested, anti-inflammatory and digestion-friendly properties, in addition to its numerous other health benefits – this is a magnificent detox drink on its own. It only gets better with the addition of lemongrass which is widely used to alleviate respiratory conditions and trace amounts of capsaicin from the jalapeño triples the benefits.
6 cups filtered water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 2- inch piece fresh ginger thinly sliced
Slice lemongrass in half lengthwise and chop. Remove seeds from jalapeno and thinly slice. Add all ingredients to water and heat to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and strain. Refrigerate.
A powerful detox drink as is.
A tall highball or Collins glass, half full of ice
1 pony shot (1-1/2 ounce) of vodka (or tequila)
3/4 of an ounce of St. Germain Elderflower
Top with Ginger Lemongrass Jalapeno mixture
Garnish: thinly sliced jalapeno and a lemongrass stalk
*I used VDKA 6100 a New Zealand whey-based vodka partly owned by actor Robert De Niro.
Happy Father’s Day!
VDKA 6100 is backed by Australian casino mogul James Packer and famous actor Robert De Niro and is named for the Australian country code “6100″ located right outside of Perth, which happens to be the location of one of James Packer’s major properties, Crown Metropol Perth. Although it has an Australian inspired name, the vodka itself comes from New Zealand, where the whey is sourced from grass-fed cow’s milk and the pristine water is unequaled.
Whey isn’t a very common vodka source – vodka is most commonly made from corn, wheat (Absolut), grapes (Ciroc), rye (Belvedere), potatoes, and the ubiquitous “neutral grain” (Smirnoff) which can be almost any grain or mix of grains (including even soy) – but like any fermentable sugar it can be transformed into alcohol with the right kind of yeast.
An elegant ombre bottle sporting cool, crisp lettering introduces VDKA 6100 ($35) as a contender in the celebrity vodka market. It is light with lemon, vanilla, white flowers, and powdered sugar. The entry for VDKA 6100 follows on from the nose fairly well with light lemon and vanilla backed by black pepper and becomes more acidic with a touch of heat in the finish. The long acidic finish is consistent with whey vodkas according to Drink Spirits (this was my first time trying a whey-based vodka) and, IMO, renders VDKA 6100 more enjoyable in cocktails that introduce other intriguing flavors such as this Lemongrass Ginger Jalapeño Cooler than in martinis or straight up on the rocks.
Full moon rising above Santa Cruz pier.
Full moon photo credit: Harrison Sutcliffe
Disclosure: I received a bottle of VDKA 6100 for review and recipe development purposes, all opinions are my own.