Don't Throw Away That Banana Peel, It's The Hottest New Cocktail Ingredient
A new ingredient is turning heads in the cocktail industry: the humble banana peel. No longer just a food scrap, it is gaining fans in mixology due to its distinct taste and eco-friendliness.
Traditionally, most cultures have savoured banana’s sweet pulp. However, its peel has not found a place in the kitchen other than in the compost heap. That is changing now, with innovative bartenders highlighting its untapped potential. The peel has exactly what it takes to take the conventional cocktail to the next level: earthy tones and a subtle hint of bitterness.
For the recipe that we’re about to let you in on, you need to begin by making the banana peel syrup. For this, you may take a couple of ripe ones and chop them into small pieces. In a saucepan, combine these pieces with equal parts water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the banana to surrender all its flavour. Once done, strain and cool the syrup.
Let’s use our genius creation, now a gooey, caramel-ly liquid, to give the classic Mojito some makeover(s):
Banana Peel Mojito Twist
Grab a tall glass. Toss in a handful of fresh mint leaves. Bruise them lightly to release their oils and fragrance. Now, pour in 45 ml Captain Morgan white rum, the backbone of our mojito. Follow it up with 30 ml of fresh lime juice for that essential kick. Here comes the star: 20 ml of your homemade banana peel syrup. This isn't just any sweetener, it's the magic ingredient that brings a unique twist to our mojito. Gently pour soda water and watch the bubbles rise, mingling with the mint, rum, and banana flavours. Give it a gentle stir, just enough to mix the flavours while keeping the fizz alive.
Garnish with a mint sprig or a lime wheel, and voilà! You've got yourself a banana-infused mojito that's as delightful to look at as it is to drink.
Spiced Banana Old Fashioned
In a mixing glass, combine 60 ml of bourbon with 15 ml of banana peel syrup. You are about to create a rich and sticky base with the faint sweetness of bananas. Add a dash of Angostura bitters for some texture. Throw in some ice cubes and stir everything until it’s well chilled. Strain into a fresh glass with a large ice cube, and decorate with an orange twist for the finishing touch. The banana peel syrup elevates this classic, bringing a familiar hint of spice and sweetness.
In crafting cocktails with banana peel, the approach is as varied as the cocktails. Some of us are stewing the peels in spirits, drawing out a subtle, sweet charm that's both surprising and delicious. Others are whipping up syrups and bitters or scrambling fresh peel to extract a distinct, earthy essence that goes well with both light and dark spirits.
But it's not just about taste. Even though trends come and go, especially in an industry that’s constantly evolving, banana peels offer promise in their capacity to enhance creativity while allowing resourcefulness.
It is, indeed, an exciting time in mixology for anyone who sees potential in ordinary ingredients. The trick is to think differently about your resources and how you want to use them to minimise waste and yet create a drink that makes the most of local flavours but resonates globally.