Tiki Drink Recipe: Pod Thai

While I was looking for some great drink recipes, I finally stumbled across the recipe to a drink that I've been thinking about ever since I had it at Bootlegger Tiki in Palm Springs: the Pod Thai. 

The reason why I've been so fixated on this drink is that the flavor is so unique.  In fact, at first it seemed a little too weird with its exotic Thai basil, lemongrass, etc.  But after a few sips, I really began to appreciate the taste and ever since I've been smitten with the thought of this drink.  

So Saveur spilled the beans and I just had to see if their recipe compared to what was served to me in Palm Springs.  It's a little more complicated than most so be warned!  This week's Pod Thai is brought to you by a Trader Sam's (Disneyland) Shipwreck on the Rocks barrel mug. 

 

So, let's talk about these INGREDIENTS

First things first, you're going to need to pick up three ingredients that you probably don't have stocked and ready to go in your bar at home: lemongrass, cardamom pods, and Thai basil.  Lemongrass can come in full stalks (I got mine from Greg's family's front yard) or it can come as pre-trimmed stalks so you just get the lighter green portion towards the bottom.  Cardamom pods can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets.  You'll find Thai basil somewhere around the regular basil in the produce section.  Once you've procured the above (as well as sugar, light Puerto Rican rum, fresh lime juice, coconut creme, club soda, and water), you're good to go!  

 

Step 1: Make Cardamom-Lemongrass Syrup

Trim and thinly slice the lemongrass stalk.  In my case, since my home-grown lemongrass stalks were so thin compared to what you typically get at the store, I used four.  To trim, take off the rough outer layers of the stalk (about 3) until you get to the softer, more moist part.  Then, cut off the very bottom and the leafy tops.  The picture below shows the full stalk, trimmed stalk, and sliced stalk. 

Crush 4 cardamom pods.  I don't know if there's any "professional" way to do this - I just used the container they came in to crush them.  

Boil the following until sugar is dissolved.  You'll know it's dissolved when the liquid is clear. 

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Remove from heat and add

  • 4 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and thinly sliced

Let cool and strain.  There's going to be extra syrup so you can refrigerate the rest for up to two weeks if you'd like to save it.  I put mine right into a mason jar

 

Step 2: Mix That Drink!

Muddle the following in a cocktail shaker

  • 2 Thai basil sprigs
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice

Add the following to the shaker

  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum 
  • 1/2 oz. creme de coconut syrup (I personally prefer Coco Real over the Coco Lopez cans) 
  • 1 oz. cardamom-lemongrass syrup (that you just made) 
  • Ice 

Shake vigorously and strain into a glass mug.  Top with a bit of club soda and garnish with a Thai basil sprig. 

I made a double recipe to fit this drink into my tiki mug.  I also needed some extra ice to fill it up all the way.  But in the end...it was DELICIOUS.  I think this may be the best drink I've ever created in this little kitchen of mine.  And it did taste pretty similar to Bootlegger Tiki's version to me!  Hmm, I think a Palm Springs trip might be in order just to make sure... 

[Recipe credit: Saveur - Pod Thai]