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Tamarind whiskey sour

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Easy and quick

The perfect Thanksgiving cocktail

This Thai-inspired tamarind whiskey sour recipe comes from Andy Ricker's Pok Pok restaurants in Portland, Oregon and NYC. We made up a batch for our early Thanksgiving dinner back in September, and several guests announced it was their new favorite drink. Even if you don't consider yourself a whiskey drinker, I think you will find this cocktail very yummy. It is also straightforward to make. If you are making these tasty sours for a group, make a large batch of the tamarind simple sugar. It will keep for about a week in the fridge.

Tamarind paste and tamarind concentrate

Tamarind is a pod-like fruit that is used in many different cuisines around the world. Most of us know tamarind as a key ingredient in Pad Thai and Aqua Fresca in Mexico. But did you know tamarind is also an ingredient in Worcestershire sauce? Who knew? Not me!

Tamicon | Something New For Dinner

When I was in Thailand this year I learned to make tamarind sauce directly from the pods. You break up the pulp from the tamarind pods and soak them in water. It really is not hard to do, but finding tamarind pods can be a challenge, although I have occasionally found them at Whole Foods. So the easy, cheater way is to buy tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate, which is fortunately available here.

Click to download our free e-cookbook: 3 Fabulous Turkey Recipes Guaranteed To Be Spectacular

Making the brown sugar and tamarind simple syrup

The simple syrup recipe makes enough for 4 cocktails. The cocktail recipe makes enough for two cocktails because that is all that will fit in a normal cocktail shaker. So if you want to make 4 cocktails, you need to shake up two batches.

Pok Pok

If you love Thai food, but are afraid to attempt cooking it, check out Andy Ricker's cookbook, Pok Pok. This fabulous resource includes 70 authentic Thai recipes as well as fundamental Thai cooking techniques.

Luxardo maraschino cherries

Luxardo Cherries | Something New For Dinner

I like to use Luxardo maraschino cherries to garnish these cocktails. If you haven't tried them before you are in for a serious treat. You will never settle for the red-dyed maraschino cherries of your childhood again. Luxardo cherries are delicious in cocktails, scooped over some vanilla ice cream, or just eaten out of the jar, if you can't help yourself. They are a bit pricey, so if you don't want to break the bank, skip the cherries and invest in some good bourbon instead.

Single ice balls

Ice Spheres | Something New For Dinner

A whiskey sour really benefits from a single large ice cube, because the ice does not melt as quickly and consequently doesn't dilute the drink. I like these ice ball spheres from Arctic Chill. They are easy to use and BPA-free.

Is it spelled whisky or whiskey?

The British and the Canadians spell spirits distilled from malted grains" whisky" and Americans spell their malted grain spirits "whiskey." So if you are referring to scotch or Canadian whisky there is no "e" in the spelling, but if you are referring to a Kentucky bourbon or Tennessee Jack Daniels you spell it whiskey with an "e." Makers Mark, a Kentucky bourbon, follows the British convention and spells their bourbon "whisky." Confusing? Most definitely!



Tamarind whiskey sour

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This Thai-inspired whiskey sour recipe comes from Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok restaurants. A balance of sweet, sour and smoky, it makes for a delicious Thanksgiving cocktail.


  • For the tamarind simple syrup:
  • (Makes enough for 4 cocktails)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • For the cocktail:
  • (Makes 2 cocktails):
  • 3 ounces bourbon (I like Maker’s Mark)
  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces brown sugar tamarind simple syrup
  • 2 orange wedges
  • 2 Luxardo maraschino cherries
  • 2 sprigs mint


  1. For the simple sugar: In a small pot bring brown sugar and water to boil, reduce heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Stir in tamarind concentrate and allow to cool.
  2. For the cocktail: Combine tamarind simple sugar, bourbon, lime juice and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker has a good coat of condensation on it.
  3. Strain into Old Fashioned glasses filled with one large ice cube and garnish with mint, an orange slice and a Luxardo maraschino cherry.


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