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Friday 13 April 2012

The Boy and His Poison: The Tom Yum Martini

I love recipes that list items like 'lemongrass syrup' and 'Kaffir lime vodka' which until recently only seemed to be available in Harvey Nicks when the moon is in its fourth cycle and Sagittarius is in the ascendant. They really make you feel like you can just jump in and make the cocktail.

If like me you fancy making a Thai inspired cocktail like my Tom Yum martini, or this Tom Yum Mojito (from which it was inspired) then one option would be to make your own kaffir lime infused vodka. Failing that (and if you want to drink the thing in less than a week) you could always take the deliciously easy shortcut of making your own lemongrass and kaffir lime syrup. A slice of chilli and a squeeze of lime later your liver will be in Koh Samui and you'll be wondering why anyone would bother infusing vodka with anything.

For the syrup you'll need:
  • Equal parts sugar and water in my case I went for a martini glass of sugar and water
  • 1 stick of lemongrass, shredded
  • A small knob of ginger shaved into slithers using a peeler
  • A few kaffir lime leaves (or if all else fails, grate the zest of half a lime, it wont taste the same but it will still taste delicious)
Then make:
  • Put all the ingredients in a saucepan
  • Bring to the boil then simmer for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved
  • Leave to stand for 60 mins and strain into  
For the drink you'll need:
  • 50ml Vodka
  • 25ml lemongrass and ginger syrup
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 3 slices of chilli
  • 3 shavings of ginger
Make it:
  • Muddle the vodka, ginger and chilli in a cocktail shaker using a rolling pin for 10 seconds
  • Add the syrup and lime juice
  • Add some ice
  • Shake for 15 seconds
  • Strain into a martini glass


  1. Can't help but wonder what a few drops of fish sauce would do to the flavour - then it would really be a la tom yum.

  2. Kiffir lime leaves - available in the spice section of Waitrose for £1.79.

  3. This sounds like a perfect recipe for DSP Dixie at


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