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Tom Yum on a Rock

Tom Yum on a Rock cocktail in a rocks glass, garnished with a skewered red chile pepper and a lime wheel / Tim Nusog

Tom Yum on a Rock is a tangy, spicy sipper from The Den, a bar located at the Six Senses resort on Koh Yao Noi, Thailand. Order one while taking in the sweeping views of Phang Nga Bay and the islands and rock formations in the distance to (re)confirm your vacation status.

The cocktail is reminiscent of the Thai hot and sour soup of the same name. It combines vodka with Cointreau, lime, lemongrass and its secret weapon, a TomYam syrup made from a closely guarded recipe. (“Tom” refers to the boiling process, while “yam” is a spicy and sour salad.”) In this version, the syrup has been replaced with palm sugar syrup.

Palm sugar is commonly used in Asian, Middle Eastern and North African cuisines, but it has recently made its way into cocktails as more bartenders explore the realm of possible sugar sources for drinks. Palm sugar often comes in chunks, so breaking it down can be a bit of a hassle, but its dark and nutty flavor is worth the effort. 

To amp up the aromatics, the recipe asks you to muddle a makrut lime leaf and lemongrass stalk before shaking them with the remaining ingredients. And the serving glass receives a red-pepper-and-salt rim for a spicy accent with each sip.


  • 1 lime wedge

  • Red pepper flakes, to rim glass

  • Sea salt, to rim glass

  • 1 Makrut lime leaf

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, chopped, hard outer shell removed

  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 3/4 ounces Beluga vodka

  • 2/3 ounce Cointreau

  • 2/3 ounce palm sugar syrup (equal parts palm sugar and water, boiled and cooled)

  • Garnish: lime wheel

  • Garnish: red chile pepper


  1. Rub the lime wedge on half of the outer rim of a rocks glass. Add equal parts red pepper flakes and sea salt to a small plate, and dip the glass in the mixture.

  2. Add the makrut lime leaf, lemongrass and lime juice into a shaker and muddle gently.

  3. Add the vodka, Cointreau, palm sugar syrup and ice, and shake until well-chilled.

  4. Double-strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice.

  5. Garnish with a lime wheel and red chile pepper on a bamboo pick.