To be sure, this is a very brown drink. That’s because it’s made with tamarind paste, the basis for that sweet, exotic, vaguely spicy stuff you dip your samosas into at the Indian buffet. At Portland’s funky Pok Pok restaurant, they also make a cocktail with it — essentially a whiskey sour plus tamarind, which adds an Eastern flair to an otherwise classic, straightforward drink.
I had a lot of tamarind paste left over from a recent cooking-and-cocktails event with Dewar’s, so I dug up this recipe to put it to good use. Alas, while Pok Pok was a fun — and delicious — place to dine, I was saddened to learn that it’s closed, another casualty of Covid-19.
So mix and pour one of these in Pok Pok’s memory, and if the color’s too dark for you, simply lighten up on the tamarind… though that comes at the expense of the best part of the drink.
Tamarind Whiskey Sour
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon tamarind paste mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water and cooled
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour over fresh ice (crushed or cubed, your choice). Garnish with whatever fruit you have handy.