East Bay Spice Company Surprises With Its Golden State Curry

Curry and other ingredients come together nicely for this cocktail.


Photo by Lance Yamamoto

Curry and cocktails share something very fundamental in common: Both are combinations of ingredients, which, once blended, produce an entirely new singular flavor.

Although nearly everyone can immediately identify that flavor “curry,” there is no single spice or plant that produces it; somehow, almost magically, when a disparate array of completely unrelated elements are combined in a specific way, their fusion manifests as one distinct, new flavor.

And just as there a vast array of regional flavor combinations that as “curry”-tasting, there are all sorts of drink recipes with wildly varying ingredients regarded as tasting like “cocktails.” So there’s a kind of cosmic inevitability that one day there would be a curry cocktail. It seems so obvious in retrospect.

The cocktail in question is the Golden State Curry at East Bay Spice Company as part of a new menu, which looks like a passport and includes a drinking game called “Imbibe the World in 80 Days.” To win, guests must sample 20 different spiced cocktails.

Of all the cocktails on the menu, the Golden State Curry is the most interesting.

“It’s one of the riskiest cocktails we’ve ever made,” laughed general manager Robbie Conroy. “And like with all our drinks, designing it was a communal effort. The whole staff tests out ideas together — we can go through 40 or 50 variations of a new recipe until we all agree that it’s perfect.”

“The starting point was to create a cocktail based on our house-made curry cream,” Conroy said, “consisting of coconut cream, sugar, and an excellent curry powder crafted at Vik’s Chaat and Market.”

The Golden State Curry takes a most unexpected transcultural odyssey. Amalgamated into the coconut/curry base is singani, a Bolivian muscat-grape brandy brewed on the highest Andean peaks. From there, it sojourns to Scandinavia via the Pacific Northwest with Krogstad Aquavit, a Nordic anise-and-caraway spirit distilled in Oregon. Add in the least-expected complement of all — crème de cacao — before finishing the journey back at the other end of South America with a dash of artisanal barrel-aged cachaça from near the southeast coast of Brazil.

A grated-chocolate garnish tops off this surprisingly delicious concoction, which results in an unforgettable new distinctive flavor.

And the name? “It’s a pun,” explained Conroy. “It refers to curry from the ‘golden state’ of California — but obviously it’s also an homage to Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.”

Obviously. In retrospect.

East Bay Spice Company, 2134 Oxford St., Berkeley, 510-845-4427, EastBaySpiceCompany.com. 

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