DOTW: Thai Boxer

Posted by Anita on 05.12.08 12:09 AM

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**I’m a big fan of Food & Wine magazine’s annual pocket-sized cocktail compilations. I picked up my first edition a few years back as an impulse buy in the supermarket checkout lane. Flipping through the slim volume while the woman in front of me attempted to write a check for her $4 order, I spied a recipe from the Zig-Zag boys and bought it on the spot.

Every year since then, I’ve waited impatiently for the new version each spring. Though I don’t always find a new favorite, there are enough “keeper” recipes in every edition that it’s worth the small expense — about $10 — and the photography and prop styling offer plenty of visual inspiration.

This year’s edition features a whopping 17 recipes from Bay Area bars and restaurants, including favorites like Nopa, Forbidden Island, Alembic, and more. Surely, I thought, there must be a good rum recipe in there, worthy of this month’s Mixology Monday roundup — hosted, aptly enough, by Trader Tiki.

Alas, somebody at F&W missed the memo about rum’s hot streak: A good chunk of the drinks in the Rum chapter are actually made with rum’s Brazilan cousin, cachaça. But one concoction did catch my eye: Scott Beattie’s “Thai Boxer” — a vanilla-rum drink that uses unsweetened coconut milk, muddled Asian herbs, and a dose of ginger ale. Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of culinary cocktails that require a grocery-store excursion, but it just so happens that (a) I keep a case of coconut milk on hand for Thai curries and (b) we actually have all the herb ingredients growing in our yard.

Much as I love the folks at Charbay, I was reluctant to splash out $35+ for a bottle of their boutique vanilla rum, not knowing if I’d find another use for it. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise: There wasn’t a single bottle to be found at any of my regular liquor shops. Happily, spiced spirits are one of the quickest and easiest infusions to make, and I was very pleased with my first effort at home-made vanilla rum.

But back to the recipe: Once the shopping’s done and the vanilla rum’s steeped, the hard part’s definitely done. I took the liberty of replacing the original recipe’s simple syrup with an equal amount of Canton ginger liqueur to double up the ginger beer’s flavor. Much like its namesake, this Thai Boxer’s a cute little thing with a surprisingly lethal kick.

(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**(c)2008 AEC **all rights reserved**

Thai Boxer
- Adapted from a recipe by Scott Beattie in Food & Wine Cocktails 2008
10 leaves Thai basil, plus a sprig for garnish
Mixology Monday - RUM10 leaves fresh mint
10 leaves cilantro
1/2 oz Canton ginger liqueur, or simple syrup
1-1/2 oz vanilla rum (see Note 1)
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz unsweetened coconut milk (see Note 2)
ginger beer, or a quality ginger ale

In a mixing glass, muddle the herbs with the liqueur or syrup. Add the rum, lime juice, coconut milk, and shake with ice until well chilled. Double-strain (using a Hawthorne strainer to hold back the ice and a fine sieve to catch the bits of herbs) into an ice-filled highball glass, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a spring of Thai basil.

Note 1: If you can’t find a natural vanilla rum — Beattie recommends Charbay Tahitian Vanilla, which seems to be in short supply, even here in the Bay Area — it’s easy to make your own. Split and finely grind (or chop) a vanilla bean and steep in 8oz of white rum. Shake periodically, and strain through cheesecloth after 48 hours. Whatever you do, please steer clear of the artificially enhanced mass-market brands.

Note 2: You’re looking for the unsweetened Asian stuff here, not that ‘coco creme‘ crap. Try to not shake the coconut milk before using. In fact, it’s best if you can refrigerate the can for a day beforehand to allow the coconut cream to rise to the top and solidify. Be sure you’re using the thinner, watery milk at the bottom of the can for this recipe, or you’ll end up with an unappetizing film on the sides of the glass and a greasy-tasting drink.


Other Drink of the Week posts featuring Rum:
Millionaire Cocktail #1 with Plymouth Sloe Gin
Fugu for Two at Forbidden Island
Dark & Stormy, San Francisco’s winter fave
Mai Tai at the Tiki-ti
Piña Coladas, au naturel
Mojitos a la Murray
Corn ‘n’ Oil, Cameron’s favorite rum drink
Bloody Beach, a Blood and Sand variation
Eggnog for a festive occasion
Painkillers straight from Tortola
Jolly Roger, for Talk Like a Pirate Day
Canton (aka Chinese Cocktail), the very first DOTW

cookbooks, Drink of the Week, drinks, Mixology Monday, recipes



Comment by AppetiteforChina

When I interned at Food & Wine I got to work a bit on one of their past cocktail books. They brought in extremely knowledgeable bartenders and thoroughly taste-tested each recipe submission. It’s nice to see a publication take cocktail recipes as seriously as they do food recipes.

Posted on 05.12.08 at 9:29AM

Comment by michelle @ TNS

excellent. i definitely focus on cooking to the detriment of cocktails. thanks for helping me rectify that!

Posted on 05.12.08 at 9:53AM

Comment by Anna

the combination of these flavours sounds so summery and good. would probably work well alongside a nice green papaya salad too.

Posted on 05.13.08 at 4:08AM

Comment by Lucy V

Oooh. I’m going to try this the next time we have guests. I found myself menu planning for what would follow even before I got to the end of the recipe!

Posted on 05.15.08 at 10:35AM

Comment by elarael

Ahhh, Thank You! I tried to cobble together this recipe after reading an article that described the drinks ingredients but didn’t list the actual recipe and this is SO helpful, yippee! I live in Hawaii and this will be just so great here.

Posted on 05.20.08 at 11:17AM

Comment by elarael

PS: It’s now easy to get coco water in a can at the health food stores, or the Asian market (as well as an actual nut) that might be even tastier than the water from the cream, and it won’t have any added guar gum or whatever they usually add to cans.

Posted on 05.20.08 at 11:25AM

Comment by Tartelette

I am so in love with this drink now that I have read this…and thirsty! Thanks for another awesome DOTW!!

Posted on 05.21.08 at 12:40AM

Comment by mv

Looks great! About how many servings does this make?

Posted on 05.23.08 at 10:39PM

Comment by gem

Absolutely delicious. I used SNAP in place of the Canton to add some mid-range flavor. Also used mt gay extra old rum and a drop of pure vanilla extract. And Barritt’s Ginger Beer.

Thanks for the superb recipe.


Posted on 09.30.12 at 3:34PM

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