Let me tell you a secret: I’ve mixed more drinks in Turkey than I’ve cooked hot dinners. I was trained as a bartender before I became a chef and, like most of my generation of Turkish hospitality students, I was inspired by the movie Cocktail (starring Tom Cruise and Bryan Brown). I found mixing drinks with ‘flair’ was a great way to get tips and to pick up chicks. Then I got serious and added cooking to my repertoire. When I opened my restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Balmain, one of my first customers was Bryan Brown, who lives round the corner.
These three flashy mixtures give a nod to traditional Turkish ingredients—rakı, pomegranate and figs—and two of them have Turkish puns in their names (the Nar in Narito means pomegranate, and the Inci in Incini means fig). But they were all created within a mile of Bryan Brown.
Boil the Turkish coffee with
Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the kahlua, brandy, rakı and coffee. Shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into a long glass. Decorate with pashmak and serve.
Quarter the lime or satsuma. Place in a cocktail shaker with the pomegranate molasses, mint and pomegranate seeds. Mash the mixture with what bartenders call a muddler. Add the rum, pomegranate liqueur and pomegranate juice. Shake vigorously for 1 minute. Serve in a tall cocktail glass, topped up with soda water.
Muddle the fresh half fig in a shaker or put in the fig jam. Add the gin, Cointreau and lemon juice. Half fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for a minute. Double-strain into a martini glass with the candied fig and lemon zest, and serve.
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