This drink came to fruition during one of my bar test days as manager at Nuba restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown. We usually have this once a week: in between services, I work with my staff on different ingredients that we want to incorporate into our program.
We talked about how we really wanted a cocktail with cardamom, but without using bitters like most versions do. We tried so many combinations, and then while drinking a turmeric latte the next day, I thought: maybe turmeric? Weirdly enough, it worked. We always try to incorporate fresh ingredients into our cocktails by using our in house-pressed juices and spices. We want our beverage menu to be an extension of the food menu: celebrating Lebanese notes and flavours.
Originally, this drink came to life as a cocktail, not a mocktail. But then a friend of mine who doesn’t drink came to Nuba for dinner; she loved the sound of the cocktail, but obviously could not have it. I knew the notes of our kombucha were similar to the rum we were using, so I swapped them out. She liked it so much, she had three of them that night. After that, we decided to offer the mocktail version as a feature.
Called the El Mino, it’s full of holistic ingredients: ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory; lemon promotes hydration and helps with digestion; and cardamom is an antioxidant. Here’s how to make it at home.
El Mino Mocktail
- 1 ounce turmeric and cardamom syrup (instructions below)
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 0.75 ounce freshly-squeezed ginger (peel and grate the ginger before extracting the juice)
- Citrus kombucha of choice (we use Raincoast Kombucha)
Turmeric and cardamom syrup (yields 1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon cardamom
- ½ tablespoon fresh turmeric
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- Bring the water to a boil in a pot.
- Place the turmeric and cardamom in an empty tea bag.
- Place the tea bag in the water and steep it for five minutes.
- Stir in the sugar until it is dissolved completely.
- Reduce the heat and stir until the mixture has reduced to half its original volume (about 10 minutes).
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool.
- Pour it into a very clean jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Keep it refrigerated until ready to use.
- Stir the syrup, lemon, and ginger juice together in a short glass.
- Add ice to almost fill the glass.
- Top with kombucha of your choice.
- Sip slowly, savouring the moment.