Culinary Cocktails: Zeta Bar’s Rama Caliente

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In recent years, we’ve seen a growing trend in culinary cocktails, with bartenders taking inspiration from chefs, applying techniques such as sous-vide to cocktails and thereby strengthening the connection between bar and kitchen.

Zeta Bar in the Hilton Sydney has taken the concept further and developed an entire drinks list based on culinary cocktails.

The Rama Caliente cocktail was created by Bar Manager Christian Comparone. In developing the culinary cocktail menu, he spent some time in his native Italy and developed prototypes with the assistance of a friend who was a chef. On his return, he met with Hilton’s executive chefs and together they tweaked the drinks to offer complex yet approachable cocktails with a broad appeal.

In creating the Rama Caliente cocktail, Comparone took inspiration from deconstructing the flavours in a Thai green curry and representing them in a cocktail. Green curry was invented during the reign of King Rama and quickly became a national signature dish of Thailand so the cocktail was named after Rama, the Kings of Thailand.

Camparone describes it as a refreshing yet full and creamy version of the classic Margarita. The cocktail has a fresh and zingy aroma and incorporates fresh herbaceous characters of Thai basil with undertones of green curry and heat.

Culinary Cocktails: Rama Caliente

Ingredients

Recipe by Christian Comparone (Bar Manager of Zeta Bar Sydney)

  • 50 ml jalapeño infused blanco tequila*
  • 10 ml sake
  • 10 ml ginger infused Lillet Blanc**
  • 30 ml Thai basil syrup***
  • 15 ml lime juice
  • 30 ml coconut cream

For Jalapeño Iinfused Tequila*:

  • 1 bottle of blanco Tequila (700 ml)
  • 3 jalapeños

For Ginger Infused Lillet Blanc**:

  • 1 bottle of Lillet Blanc (700 ml)
  • 100 g of freshly fine-sliced ginger

For Thai basil syrup***:

  • 1 litre of water
  • 5 g Thai green curry paste
  • 500 g caster sugar
  • 200 g Thai basil leaves

Glassware: Thai ceramic bowl
Garnish: bamboo steamer, grated lime zest, bamboo leaf, dehydrated lime wheel

Method

To make Rama Caliente, add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Double strain into a Thai ceramic bowl with a large ice cube. Garnish with grated lime zest and serve on a bamboo steamer over a bamboo leaf with a dehydrated lime wheel.

* For jalapeño infused Tequila, sous vide the ingredients together for 1 hour at 50 degrees Celsius. Note: These components need be adjusted for heat and flavour depending on seasonal factors and choice of supplier.

** For Ginger Infused Lillet Blanc, sous vide the ingredients together for 1 hour at 45 degrees Celsius. Note: These components need be adjusted for heat and flavour depending on seasonal factors and choice of supplier.

*** For Thai basil syrup, gently bring the Thai basil and water to boil. Add sugar and dissolve into liquid. Add curry paste and stir. Fine strain, leave to cool and bottle.