Magic Carousel Cocktail

Magic Carousel Cocktail

The light mist green of pistachio Persian fairy floss crowns this elixir of Dutch gin, saffron, ginger, pistachio ice cream and Ran Watte Ceylon tea. With exquisite delicacy, and perhaps even a certain brutality with its history of royal patrons, pistachio feels like childhood love. Savor the complexity and subtlety of this cocktail, like a deep misty magical forest. Never grow old, and remember the child in us all.

1 serving


1 1/2 ounce of genever gin (jonge/young style)
3 ounces of saffron & ginger-infused single-region Ran Watte Ceylon tea
1 ounce of vanilla-infused cane syrup (see recipe below)
3 ounces of pistachio ice cream

For the saffron & ginger tea:
1 cup of pure/distilled water
1 tea bag (Ceylon tea)
2 inch of fresh young ginger
1 smidgen of freshly ground saffron

For the vanilla cane syrup:
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla pod

Total: about 8 1/2 ounces per serving (guide for glassware)

Small bunch of pistachio-flavored Persian fairy floss/pashmak for garnish


Utility knife and cutting board
Pot (around 1 quart capacity) with cover
Teacup and lid
Fine-sieve strainer
2-piece Boston shaker
Hawthorn strainer
Bar spoon
Poco grande glass (12-16 ounces), for service


Chill the glassware in the refrigerator.

For the ginger-infused single-region Ceylon tea:
Boil the pure water. Cut about 1/3 inch of the ginger, remove the skin and wash thoroughly. Lightly grill the saffron to remove the moisture before pounding it into powder. Grate and place the ginger into the teacup together with the saffron and tea bag. Once the water starts boiling, fill the teacup and cover with lid. Remove the bag after 5 minutes (half the infusion time if the tea is to be drunk on its own), and replace lid. Leave aside for at least 45-60 minutes with the ginger still in the teacup, and refrigerate until ready for use.

Prepare the vanilla syrup:
Make a simple syrup by combining the cane sugar, vanilla pod and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Chill in the refrigerator. This syrup will keep for two weeks in a sealed airtight container.

Prepare the cocktail:
Add the ginger tea, syrup and gin into the glass half of the Boston shaker and fill the metal half at least 2/3 full with ice. Empty the contents of the glass half into the metal half, and stir for at least 30 seconds.

Strain into the ice-filled glassware, top up with the ice cream and Persian fairy floss.

[Flavor Impressionist’s notes: 1 ounce is equivalent to 30 milliliter (ml), 1/2 ounce is equivalent to 15 milliliter (ml), 2 inches is equivalent to 5 centimeter (cm). A smidgen holds 1/32 teaspoon, or 1/2 pinch. 2 smidgens = 1 pinch; 2 pinches = 1 dash; 8 dashes = 1 teaspoon.

If pistachio ice cream made from Sicilian pistachio is used, the color will be a rich green. This offers a richer flavor, though it is less easily available.

Persian fairy floss, also known as pashmak (or pismaniye in Turkey, its country of origin) is made of sugar, flour and sesame oil. It is lighter in texture and more delicate in flavor than cotton candy floss. Add at the very last minute before serving as humidity/air contact spoils its silken texture, as does moisture from the ice cream.]

If available, it is preferable to use organic produce for the ginger.

Consider pre-made products for the ginger Ceylon tea and the vanilla cane sugar.

Genever gin is the original style of gin from Holland. It is significantly softer than the currently predominant London Dry style in the market. The young version is used in this recipe design.]

Serve immediately.


Reduce the sugar syrup by 1 teaspoon for a stronger tasting libation.

Recipe and photo by Damian Sim

A Note from Flavor Impressionist Damian Sim

Cranberries, the quintessential red hue in the American Thanksgiving celebration, have a reputation of being a favorite of cranes, bears and even cows. They have been enjoyed by the Artic people for over a millennia, and currently enjoy a healthy image with their powerful antioxidant properties.

Pistachio was selected as the base of this recipe design to pair with the cranberries. Known since antiquity (6760BC), the pistachio is reputed to have been in the legendary hanging gardens of Babylon (700BC), and one of only two nuts mentioned in the Old Testament. It was considered a delicacy and a favorite of royalties and the elite.

Pistachio was interpreted in the form of delicious pistachio ice cream, and crowning this decadence was delicate pistachio flavored Persian fairy floss (pashmak). These flavors are evocative of fun memories at the amusement parks, while the pashmak added a touch of sophistication with its silken texture.

Ran Watte (“Golden Garden” in Sinhala, the main language in Sri Lanka) single-region Ceylon tea is grown on the highest elevation of the island at 6000 feet above sea level. This elegant tea has a citrus undertone and a wonderful, long finish. Considered to be the top boutique Ceylon tea, the most precious spice in the world, saffron, was infused with it. Ginger, another known stomach settler, added a bite to the light complex flavors while pairing beautifully with the pistachio.

A vintage style of gin, jonge (young) Genever gin, was chosen for its softness (compared to the typical London Dry style), while having a full-bodied malty flavor. This was the original style savored when gin was first created. The vanilla cane syrup rounded off the tannic and bitter elements from the tea, saffron and gin. The bouquet of pistachio, mingled effortlessly with the saffron, is the first scent impressions. These are followed by lingering subtle nuances from all the elements, with surprising depth as one enjoys the libation further.

The light mist green of the pashmak against the cream hue of the cocktail sets a tranquil image; like the backdrop of childhood myths, of rich imaginations and magic. Never grow old, and remember the child in us all with the “Magic Carousel.”