Kaffir margarita

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 May, 2012, 12:00am


Armani Prive's kaffir margarita has a culturally confused background. A Mexican cocktail created by an Italian, its distinguishing feature is the use of the leaves of a plant native to Southeast Asia.

Many people will be familiar with the kaffir lime and its leaves from Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine, but may not have previously encountered it in a drink.

The creator of the drink is Manuel Soro, the Aqua Group's London resident mixologist. As also the creator of the teriyaki Bloody Mary and the wasabi green apple martini, he is clearly a believer in East meeting West in a glass.

Except that it's not a glass. The rooftop outdoor terrace of Armani Prive, presumably for 'health and safety' regulation reasons, serves its margaritas in plastic containers that are very fair imitations of martini glasses, but not the real thing.

For that you would have to go into the lounge, which, later in the evening, is probably the place to be, but not at 6.30pm, when much of the Central crowd floods the streets.

Bartender Tim Ching has kindly undertaken to mix one of Soro's creations for me. This one is relatively straightforward, but with a couple of twists, the first of which is to be found around the rim of the glass - black pepper instead of salt.

'For a classic margarita, you would use salt, but the black pepper matches better with the flavour and aroma of the kaffir lime leaves,' Ching says.

These are the first ingredients into the shaker, where they are muddled. The other elements are tequila, lime juice, pineapple juice, Grand Marnier and sugar syrup.

'We use a three-year-aged tequila, which is not so sharp as silver tequila,' Ching says. 'Normally a margarita contains tequila and Cointreau. We use a hint of Grand Marnier, which is a little more subtle and full-bodied. We use fresh lime juice, and a hint of syrup for the sweet and sour balance.'

The result is fruity and refreshing - just the thing for a warm summer evening in Central.

65ml Corralejo Anejo tequila

5ml Grand Marnier

10ml fresh lime juice

10ml pineapple juice

A dash of sugar syrup

4 kaffir lime leaves

Muddle three of the kaffir lime leaves, add the tequila, Grand Marnier, fruit juices, sugar syrup and ice.

Shake well, double strain, and pour into a pre-chilled, pepper-rimmed martini glass.

Garnish with a wedge of pineapple with the fourth kaffir lime leaf slotted in, and a twist of lemon peel.