My soul-sis was throwing a brunch to bring in her 40th birthday and rang me up a day before to ask me to come up with a signature drink for the party. I immediately flashed back to something I'd seen a friend drink during my recent Sri Lanka vacation and decided I could improve on it. So we made Tamarind Margaritas, or Tamaritas. And for those of you with Indian tastebuds or a liking for tongue-tingling, this is a winner! It tastes fabulous, goes well with Indian or other spicy food and is refreshingly different.
One fistful of Tamarind, soaked in about 500 ml warm water
4-5 tablespoonsful sugar ( or to taste)
1-2 tablespoons of chilli powder
Vodka or tequila - 500 ml
Crushed ice - about half kilo
Let the tamarind soak for a couple of hours. Then squeeze it thoroughly into the warm water so all the flavour is released. Strain it and then add sugar - it should be strongly sour and sweet, remember you're going to dilute it with ice and vodka. Add the chilli powder - it should be enough to give you a hit of heat at the back of the throat but not enough to make your tongue burn, so add chilli powder slowly! Refrigerate until nice and chilled.
Mix equal parts of vodka, the tamarind juice and crushed ice. Serve in glasses rimmed with salt - use rock salt for an added kick. Decorate the glass with a split green chilli and enjoy!
Tip: To rim the glass, dip the rim in lime juice and then in salt. The easiest way I found to crush the ice was to wrap the cubes in a clean cloth and have at them with a pestle.