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Pandan Express Cocktail Recipe | Drunken Diplomacy

I’m new to Pandan. As I’m a white American guy, it wasn’t exactly passed down through my family through the generations. I found out about it a year or two ago when I tried PCH’s fantastic Leeward Negroni cocktail. Pandan is a long leafed plant native to Southeast Asia where it is often used in place of vanilla in cooking. While it has some similarities in taste to vanilla, I find it more nutty, woody and complicated, at least vs. the vanilla beans and extracts we usually get. Pandan is easy to get from most Asian grocery stores, where you’ll find it in the freezer aisle. I’ve tried buying it fresh too and it’s a bit tougher to find, and some of the listings for fresh Pandan on Amazon are shady, so I’d just stick to the frozen variety.

Infusing Pandan is straightforward. You just roughly chop 3 of the leaves, and put them in a container with your liquor for a few hours. I usually sample it for the first time at 8ish hours, and then generally end up leaving it for a day. Once your done infusion, strain it and you’re good to go. For infusing it, I’d recommend just leaving it out at room temperature on the counter. Once you’ve infused it, it’ll keep indefinitely.

I’ve experimented with infusing Pandan into a few spirits and I find it plays well with high-proof American Applejack and with some bourbon whiskies. For this one, I used cask strength Bullet Bourbon, Vermouth Terino and Carpano Antica, along with Tom Foolery Applejack. If you can’t find Tom Foolery, check out Copper & Kings Butchertown brandy as well. I like the blend of Cocchi Vermouth and Carpano Antica as you get a lot of raisin and citrus notes from the former, and raspberry and orange from the latter.


  • 1 oz Pandan Infused, Apple Brandy (Tom Foolery Cask Strength)
  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • .75 oz Cynar
  • .5 oz Cocci Vermouth in Torino
  • .25 oz Carpanos


Cocktail Glass


  • Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice
  • Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  • Garnish with a raspberry (preferably with an awesome skull toothpick)

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