The Delhi Cooler is an original cocktail from Billy Helmkamp, co-owner of The Whistler in Chicago. It combines gin, lime juice, pineapple and curry nectar, a unique spiced syrup that sweetens the drink while infusing it with beloved Indian flavors.
“The curry nectar contains sugar, water, cumin, coriander, turmeric, Thai chili peppers, black peppercorn and allspice,” says Helmkamp. “The turmeric has a strong aromatic quality, and the bitterness balances out some of the sweeter ingredients. And as a bonus, it lends the drink a bright, bold color.”
Fortunately, the curry nectar is easy to make at home. Once you’ve obtained the ingredients, combine them in a pot with hot water, infusing the flavors and dissolving the sugar, just like you do with simple syrup. Make a little extra, and you’ll be able to serve multiple rounds of the Delhi Cooler.
The intensely flavored curry nectar is tempered by the dry, botanical gin and the lime and pineapple juices, which provide brightness and acid to the cocktail. Shake the ingredients with ice, strain the contents into your glass, and bask in the refreshing taste of this tall and soothing Indian-inspired drink.
2 ounces London dry gin
3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
3/4 ounce curry nectar*
Add the gin, lime juice, pineapple juice and curry nectar into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.
*Curry nectar: Add 5 cups water, 1 cup dried cumin powder, 1 cup dried coriander powder, 1 cup allspice, 1/2 cup black peppercorns, 2 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder and 2 Thai chili peppers (with stems and seeds removed) to a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, then turn off heat. Add 5 cups sugar and stir to dissolve. Cover pot and steep for 10 minutes. Strain through multiple layers of cheesecloth, and allow to cool before using.