I first tasted Amarula a few years ago. While I did enjoy it tremendously, my loyalty lay with another crème liqueur: Bailey’s Irish Cream. Bailey’s was a ‘soft’ liqueur; after a party when the liqueurs were being served this was the one that was offered to those who wanted something lighter than a Drambuie or Tia Maria. It was the ‘kids’ liqueur, the one young adults were ‘officially’ allowed to drink. And in all fairness, the only one they liked – it was like drinking a sweet, milky, cold chocolate with a touch of alcohol.
Amarula is just as easy to drink. It’s got the same sweet, milkiness and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two by sight. The taste however, is strikingly different: unlike Bailey’s, Amarula is a tad stronger and has a very distinctly citrus-y taste. Chilled, it’s great to drink by alone, but it’s also a great mixer for cocktails, cold coffees and chocolates.
However, its citrus-y undertone makes Amarula amenable to both sweet and savoury dishes. I found that it combined surprisingly well with spicy Asian ginger and chilli flavours. Even more surprising was that salty fish sauce didn’t kill the taste of Amarula.
The mixture makes for an unusual, spicy cocktail shot as well as a an offbeat dressing for lightly flavoured prawns.
For the prawns
6 large prawns
1 kaffir lime leaf (approx. 3-5 gm)
For the shot
30 ml Amarula
100 ml coconut cream
10 gm ginger paste
5 gm Thai chilli, finely minced
5 ml fish sauce
10 ml caramel
Thai basil leaves to garnish
Shell and devein the prawns. Keep aside.
Chop the kaffir lime leaf and mix with the prawns.
Keep in the refrigerator to marinate for about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the coconut cream with the ginger paste, Thai chilli, fish sauce and caramel till you have a smooth paste.
Refrigerate for about an hour.
Cook the prawns with about 2 tbsp of water for about 2 minutes, till they are just about cooked. Remove from the heat, but do not discard the water.
Put back in the refrigerator, with the water, to chill for at least 90 minutes. (If you don’t keep the water the prawns will dry out in the refrigerator)
Pass the coconut cream marinade through a fine sieve. Mix in the Amarula and put back in the refrigerator to chill for at least 90 minutes.
Pour about 15 ml of Amarula dressing into a shallow shot glass. Arrange the prawn on the rim of the glass. Serve garnished with a Thai basil leaf.
You can drink up any leftover dressing.
For the cocktail shot
Omit the prawns if you want to drink it as a cocktail. Increase the quantity to 45 ml per glass
Preparation Time: 1 hour 45 minutes including marinating time
Makes 6 servings or 4 cocktail shots