101 Best New Cocktails: La Cilantro Fresca by Ilias Stergiopoulos, Baba Au Rum, Athens, Greece

by Gaz Regan · Sunday, April 27th, 2014 · 101 Best New Cocktails, 101 Best New Cocktails 2014

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La Cilantro Fresca

Adapted from a recipe by Ilias Stergiopoulos, Baba Au Rum, Athens, Greece

“Thanks to this cocktail I got the second place at Havana Club Grand Prix Final, 2014, in Greece,” Ilias Stergiopoulos.

60ml (2 oz) Havana Club Anejo 3 AnosLa Cilantro Fresca - Copy

20ml (.66 oz) Orange Oleo Saccharum*

15ml (.5 oz) fresh lime juice

5ml (1 teaspoon) falernum**

2 dashes Bob’s Vanilla Bitters

8 fresh cilantro leaves plus 1 more, as garnish

Shake all ingredients with cubed ice and fine strain into a chilled coupette.  Add the garnish.

*Orange Oleo-Saccharum

5 medium oranges

350 grams (12 oz) white caster (super-fine) sugar

Peel the zests from the oranges, carefully leaving behind most of the white pith.  Place them into a jar, add a little of the sugar, and muddle them together to release the oils from the orange zests.

Add the remaining sugar, and allow the oleo-saccharum sit for 4-5 hours or until the mixture is moist.  Juice the oranges used for their zests, strain the juice, and add it to the sugar mixture.  Stir or shake until the sugar is completely dissolved.


9 fresh limes

60 grams (2 oz) peeled and chopped fresh ginger root

40 whole cloves

3-4 allspice berries cracked

10 slivered and decorticated  almonds, dry toasted until golden brown

180 ml (6 oz) Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum

420 ml (14 oz) sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)

Zest the limes, leaving back the most of the white pith and put the zests into a jar. Add the ginger, cloves, allspice and last the almonds, straight from the pan. Then add rum.

The reason we do that with the almonds is because the heat helps them to release the oils which is what we want to take from the almonds in this case. Let the mixture soak for 24 hours.

Then  strain through moistened cheesecloth, squeeze out all the liquids and store in a bottle. For every 100ml of liquid add 25ml (.85 oz) fresh squeezed and strained lime juice to make the falernum.

 gaz sez:   Jeez this was a lengthy process, but I’m a bit of a sucker for cilantro, so the recipe intrigued me.  My main concern was “would the cilantro shine through the rest of the ingredients,” and shine through, indeed, it did.  Geeky recipe proves worthwhile, is my verdict, and that always puts a smile on my face.

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