Pandan really is one of those game-changing ingredients for cocktails. At first, it may seem a little unusual, it stimulates the senses to keep you coming back for more.
A cultivated plant, it’s bright green leaves are well-known as a staple in Thai and South-Asian cooking. Also called Screwpine, the leaves release a flavour that you never knew you wanted.
Floral like vanilla, Pandan has a grassy lilt and a tropical bouquet. There is also a nuttiness that hints at notes of green coconut. In the East, it’s as common a flavouring as Vanilla is in the West, but it’s tough leaves belie how versatile this plant is, both in cooking and cocktails.
Pandan can be found at most Asian grocery stores and as well as being made into a syrup, it can be used to infuse its wonderful flavour and fragrance into spirits. The combination of colour, fragrance and flavour in Pandan, truly makes you want to take another sip.
Pandan works well with lighter spirits that lend themselves to fruit and spice but due to its nutty-coconut flavour, works particularly well with Rum (and a variety of Tiki-style drinks). Due to its earthier flavours, Pandan is a great match with Tequila and its aromatic qualities work amazingly with Gin. In fact, added to a G&T it will not only become a favourite (but also do its bit to up your game in front of your friends).
How to make Pandan Syrup
Now the Pandan leaves can be a little hard on your blender, so bundle the leaves and snip with scissors into pieces as small as you can (roughly 1cm). Add those into a blender, with a little water and blend on high for about 2 minutes.
Pour the paste into a cheesecloth and press it out, keeping the wonderful emerald green juice. Add the pulp back to the blender, with a little more water and blend again. Pour the pulp into the cheesecloth again and squeeze it out the juice (adding it to the previous juice). Repeat once more, before discarding the pulp.
Then measure 2 parts of sugar to 1 part of Pandan Juice and add to a saucepan on medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. The Pandan Syrup should last about a week to two in the refrigerator.