Why It Works
- Toasting the cumin for the simple syrup gives it a bolder, more vibrant savory flavor.
- Shaking the cocktail with a large ice cube amplifies the foamy, rich texture, while smaller ice cubes added to the tin make sure the drink gets proper dilution.
Warm-weather drinks made with pineapple are often one-note, and that note is sweet. But this cocktail, adapted from a recipe created by the MINA Test Kitchen bar team for an Indian-themed pop-up series in San Francisco, is mellow, earthy, tart, and fruity. Orgeat, a rich almond syrup, mixes with the pineapple to give a creamy, tropical touch without making the drink heavy the way that coconut would. The MINA Test Kitchen team rims the glass with a mix of cayenne, cinnamon, and sugar, but it's much less fuss to simply add a pinch of the hot stuff to the cocktail before shaking.
- For the Cumin-Pepper Syrup:
- 1 tablespoon (6g) whole cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water
- 1/2 cup (112g) sugar
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- For the Cocktails:
- 1 1/2 ounces (45ml) fresh pineapple juice from about 1/4 of a medium peeled pineapple (see note)
- 1 ounce (30ml) high-quality orgeat (such as Small Hand Foods)
- 1 ounce (30ml) fresh juice from 1 lime
- 1 ounce (30ml) Cumin-Pepper Syrup
- 4 ounces (120ml) gin, such as Calyx (see note)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 large and 2 small ice cubes, or standard ice cubes
For the Cumin-Pepper Syrup: In a small saucepan, toast cumin seeds over medium heat until fragrant and just beginning to darken. Add water, sugar, and black peppercorns, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain, and let cool before using.
For the Cocktails: Add pineapple juice, orgeat, lime juice, Cumin-Pepper Syrup, gin, and cayenne to a cocktail shaker and add one large and two standard ice cubes (or fill 2/3 full with standard ice cubes). Shake until well chilled and frothy, about 30 seconds. Strain into two cocktail glasses and serve immediately.
Muddler or juicer, cocktail shaker and strainer, fine-mesh strainer (if using muddler)
To make pineapple juice from scratch without a juicer, muddle or blend 3/4 cup of cubed peeled fresh pineapple, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer. This cocktail was designed using Calyx Gin, which is dry, crisp, and loaded with spice and grapefruit. If you can't find the Calyx, choose a bold, juniper-heavy London Dry, not a softer, New Western–style gin.