Banana and Cardamom Cocktail

Yotam Ottolenghi

"Ottolenghi Simple"

Ramael Scully

"NOPI: The Cookbook"

Some cocktails just do fit the tropical-Caribbean-cliché. Anything involving Velvet Falernum—a longtime staple in the bars of Barbados—is going to transport you straight there. The liqueur is made from sugar cane, lime, almond, and cloves. Coupled with the rum and cardamom, you’re pretty much ready to set up shop under a coconut tree. Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of the banana leaves to garnish: they’re a nice touch but they’re not essential.

Bob’s Bitters is a brand of bespoke bitters that have one single flavor, rather than using a mix of spices. Bartenders love the control they allow over the flavors going into a cocktail. You can get them online, but don’t worry if you don’t have any: just increase the number of cardamom pods used instead. With thanks to Lukasz Rafacz, head bartender at NOPI, whose recipe this is. 

Reprinted with permission from NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


Cardamom Honey:

  • 15 cardamom pods, well-crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 3/4 ounce honey

For the cocktail:

  • 1/2 small banana, cut widthwise into 1/3-inch wide slices
  • 16 cardamom pods (or 20, if you’re not using the cardamom bitters), lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 2 1/2 ounces Flor de Cana white rum
  • 1 3/4 ounce unfiltered apple juice
  • 1 1/4 ounce lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce Velvet Falernum liqueur
  • 2/3 ounce cardamom honey
  • 8 drops Bob’s Cardamom Bitters (optional)
  • 2 small banana leaves, to serve (optional)


To make the cardamom honey, place the cardamom pods and honey in a glass with 6 to 7 tablespoons of hot water. Stir with a muddler and then set aside for 12 hours. Strain out and discard the cardamom pods, then transfer the honey syrup to a jar in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.

When ready to serve, place 2 slices of banana and 10 cardamom pods (or 14 if you are not using the Bob’s Bitters) in the jar of a shaker. Muddle together, making sure the cardamom pods break open, then add the remaining ingredients. Top with ice cubes and shake hard for 10 to 15 seconds. Double-strain (through a Hawthorne strainer and then a fine-mesh sieve) into 2 rocks glasses filled with ice cubes. Insert the remaining cardamom pods in 2 slices of banana to garnish and finish with a banana leaf, if using.


2 cocktails