1.19.16 Brown Sugar

Jaggery 790 xxx
photos by Pernille Loof

Here's what it takes to open a bar and café: Vision. Perseverance. Capital. Architectural plans. Guts. Determination. A liquor license. Blood, sweat and tears. Support from friends and family. Creativity. Passion. Prayers. So if I haven't been around these parts much lately, you'll understand why. We're making progress with Fish & Bicycle and every day we come a little closer to bringing this crazy-beautiful dream to life. I'll share more details and photos with you as they come to light. In the meantime, I've got some gorgeous images from a shoot I was privileged to collaborate on with the gifted Pernille Loof, and a recipe for a delicious cocktail I developed just for the occasion.

Flavor bundles 790 xxx
bundles of joy

The key ingredient here is jaggery. I've mentioned it before—have you been paying attention? If not, naughty you, let me clue you in. Modern brown sugar is essentially just purified white sugar with some molasses mixed back in. Whereas this unrefined whole sugar—also known as gur in India or piloncillo in Mexico—is as minimally-processed as you can get. It's made from pure cane juice boiled down to a thick, crystalline syrup that's loaded with potassium, iron and magnesium. You can find it molded into cones or cubes, in powder form and pressed into bigger chunks. Try it in place of palm sugar in the stir-fried ground pork for these irresistible green-wrapped flavor bundles.

Pineapple 790 xxx
pineapple express

Jaggery is also wonderful sprinkled on pineapple before you grill or broil it, adding its own deep, earthy flavor that wafts complex notes of rum and smoke. This caramelized fruit is wonderful in my piña quemada or in a layered parfait with cream, cajeta and a crunchy coconut crumble. Or try it, as pictured above, simply drizzled with a little Mexican crema or thinned labneh and a sprinkle of lime zest.

Mick jaggery 790 xxx
double your fun

Jaggery once again brings the goods to the Mick Jaggery. This cocktail is the potable version of a pair of burgundy velvet flares, the sort that would sit low on Mick's hips and add a rich sheen to his every antic move. It's deep and sexy, with a hint of bitter. You can't always get what you want, but this could be just what you need right now. 


Mick Jaggery

makes 1 cocktail
  • — 3 ounces premium rum, such as Flor de Caña
  • — 1 ounce Martini Rosso
  • — 1.5 ounces fresh orange juice
  • — 1/2 tablespoon packed grated jaggery
  • — 2 dashes cardamom bitters
  • — 2 Luxardo Maraschino cherries

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add rum, vermouth, juice, jaggery and bitters. Shake until well chilled. Pour into a rocks glass and garnish with the cherries.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


Lisa on January 19, 2016 at 8:58 am —
laura on January 21, 2016 at 9:07 am —
Welcome back Laura! And I'm back in the land of panela, as they call the crude brown sugar here in Ecuador. But alas, so far from Nicaragua and Flor de Caña. Good luck with Fish and Bicycle - can't wait for more details.
judy b on January 19, 2016 at 10:12 am —
Thanks, Judita!
laura on January 21, 2016 at 9:06 am —
So looking forward to a visit to Fish & Bicycle!
Prairie on January 19, 2016 at 7:24 pm —
Can't wait to host you!
laura on January 21, 2016 at 9:06 am —
Yum, can't wait to try this and I bet it would be great with Antica Formula sweet vermouth! (Also with bourbon instead of rum, but that's another story---an Old Fashioned one.)
Kathie on January 20, 2016 at 11:11 am —
Yes, on both counts!
laura on January 21, 2016 at 9:06 am —
Yum.. I am going to have to try some brown sugar.
pamela on January 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm —
And not just any brown sugar…;-)
laura on January 21, 2016 at 9:07 am —
I will hunt for jaggery...I'm sure it makes for a fine drink but my goodness those pineapples....yummy!
thefolia on January 27, 2016 at 1:58 am —
An Indian market is your best bet!
laura on January 27, 2016 at 7:25 am —