Nim Nam {Ginger-Vodka Cordial with Vanilla, Lemon, and Honey}

Years ago on Christmas, my friend Lori passed me a flask filled with deliciousness comprised of candied ginger and white rum. It was smooth, sweet, and spicy. She’d gotten the recipe from mutual friend and avid mixologist Chris McIlroy who called it Nim Nam.

Lori sent me Chris’ recipe which involved steeping a particular brand of candied ginger in white rum for several months. I’d been meaning to make it for some time, but the thought of having to wait so long for a sip of that ambrosial liqueur sent me down the instant ginger gratification routes of Dark and Stormies, Sparkling Whiskey Gingerade, and Ginger Rhubarb Bee’s Knees. (I like ginger – can ya tell?)

Fast forward to music camp this past summer. My friend Fiona mixed up her version of Nim Nam, which involved freshly grated ginger, vanilla bean, lemon, honey, vodka, and a mere 24 hour steep. She presented us with chilled glasses filled with the golden cordial, ice, and fizzy water. The concoction burst with mellow floral notes, a bit of kicky heat, and just enough sweetness. I begged for the recipe.

Fiona’s Nim Nam uses masses of freshly grated ginger and its juice. Ginger has subtle nuances that can be lost when heated, so I love the bold punch of spice that this version delivers. Meyer lemon zest and juice makes the whole thing taste of sunshine, and honey adds natural sweetness and a pretty, golden hue. The vanilla bean is optional, says Fiona, but it adds a touch of warmth that makes the drink taste comforting and familiar, a like a lemon drop for grown-ups.

The cordial takes only 24 hours to prepare, but the flavors continue to meld as it sits, post-straining, in the fridge for a few days. Don’t worry about using a fancy vodka here – the flavorings smooth away any rough edges. (Though if you’re a sucker for a pretty bottle, try Reyka or Hangar 1.)

I think of Nim Nam as a wintertime drink, suitable for holiday and New Year’s parties, but it also refreshes on a warm summer day. It makes a lovely gift funneled into pretty jars, and I find it to be the perfect after-dinner tipple. (Something else that makes a lovely gift? A stainless steel soda siphon for making your own fizzy water.)

Whatever the weather, serve this cordial in chilled glasses topped with ice and
fizzy water.

Happy holidays.

For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, or subscribe to receive posts via email.

Good Libations:

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur
Sparkling Whiskey Gingerade
Ginger Rhubarb Bee’s Knees

One year ago:

Vegan Chocolate Chile Coconut Milk Truffles

Two years ago:

Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie

Three years ago:

Bojon Egg Nog (fully cooked, fully awesome)
Sage, Thyme and Mimolette Cheese Straws

Four years ago:

Roasted Winter Squash and Sage Tart
Triple Ginger Molasses Cookies
Satsuma, Ginger and Oat Scones

Nim Nam {Ginger-Vodka Cordial with Vanilla, Lemon, and Honey}
Yields: about 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 750 mL vodka
  • ⅓ cup grated fresh ginger and its juice
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (preferably meyer)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • ½ cup mild honey
  • ½ cup boiling water
Instructions
  1. In a large jar (1 quart or larger), combine the vodka, ginger, lemon zest and juice, and the vanilla pod and scrapings. Let sit for 24 hours, giving the jar a shake when you think of it.
  2. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.
  3. Stir together the honey and boiling water in a measuring pitcher until the honey is liquified. Stir the honey syrup into the vodka. Pour the Nim Nam into bottles and chill.
  4. Serve the Nim Nam over ice topped with fizzy water. It will keep refrigerated, for at least a month and probably longer.
Notes
Adapted from Fiona Livingstone

This spicy cordial is made with vodka; Fiona says to use the cheap stuff since the honey, ginger, and vanilla smooth away any rough edges. I went slightly upscale with Reyka; Hangar One is another one I like the taste of on its own. This stuff only gets better as it hangs out in the fridge the first few days after straining. Serve it over ice with an equal amount of fizzy water. And watch out – it goes down a little too easy.

24 thoughts on “Nim Nam {Ginger-Vodka Cordial with Vanilla, Lemon, and Honey}”

  1. Hey, I actually have almost everything on hand to make this without venturing out to the store two days before xmas! That is a reward in itself, I think.:) Definitely going to give it a try!

  2. that sounds so good I only wish I had the ingredients on hand to make it. Why the fizzy water though versus drinking straight as it sounds very "drinkable" on it's own.

  3. Hard alcohol is too strong for me but I'll try this with sake – my substitute. Not nearly the same, of course, but it might be good, we'll see!

  4. This is the time I leave a comment and don't talk about how behind I am on commenting…save for this acknowledgment of it…ahherrm

    Sweet goodness, this stuff is gorgeous! I've been feeling a similar impatience for infusions lately, so the fact that this only steeps for 24 hours is awesome. And there aren't many wintery flavors that make me happier than ginger and Meyer lemon. (The latter just started showing up at the store, and I bought a bagful and then used 'em all in one night because they were so tiny. Worth it!) 100% with you on adding the vanilla bean too. I can imagine what a lovely warmth it brings to the drink. I've also been looking for a reason to purchase a couple pretty Moscow mule mugs, and I think this might be it. Woo!

    Sending lots of fantastic New Year vibes your way! :) xo

    1. Heehee! Thanks for the sweet note, Carey! When I posted this, I thought of you and your gingery honey syrup that I made earlier this year – yum! Wishing you the good New Year vibes, too!

    1. Hi Megan! I normally don't love vodka either, but the other flavors really smooth it out here. That being said, I bet this would be great made with white rum, too. Let me know how it goes. :)

  5. Hi! This recipe is exciting! it looks SOOOOO delicious! on another note the search bar on your site had never worked for me and I just wanted to let you know… it is possible that this is a problem specific to me, but just in case it didn't work for others also I thought I would let you know. When i type a word in a hit search it just reloads the page I was on.

    1. Hi Gabby! Thanks for the kind words! Yeah, Blogger's apparently working on a fix for the problem. I'm so sorry! You could try going to the "recipes" page and doing "command F" to search for keywords. Thanks for the heads up. :)

    1. Hi jennysue, sorry for the confusion! Fizzy water is just sparkling water. We make our own, but you can of course use bottled sparkling water or club soda. Cheers. :)

  6. Book of Nimnam on amazon kindle by Bill Mckechnie. If you have a kindle? No problem! You can download the Kindle app onto your computer, laptop, ipad, iPhone or Android device.

    Six short stories about an elf who is taught the morals of life

  7. I pinned this a long time ago and finally got around to making it last week. Delicious! Thank you for sharing. I'm happy to have found your fab blog.

  8. I accidentally added the honey syrup with the rest of the ingredients to sit for the next 24 hours. Do you think that will change anything?
    Also, does it need to be stored in the fridge or do you think it’s ok if it’s sitting covered on my kitchen counter?
    Looking forward to tasting this :)

    1. I don’t think the early honey adding should be a problem! It might get absorbed into the ginger a bit, so add more to taste after straining if you like. I should think sitting on the counter should be fine. Let me know how it turns out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *