I don’t know about you but I’ve been eating bananas all of my life! Literally, like most kids – it’s one of the first things you are given to eat as a baby. What I love most about bananas is they are super flexible – with many uses in both the culinary world and the beverage world.
Bananas were originally found in South East Asia, mainly throughout India and Papua New Guinea dating back to 5000 BCE. They were brought west by Arab conquerors in 327 B.C. and moved from Asia Minor to Africa and finally carried to the New World by the first explorers to the Caribbean.
Mass production started around the 1880s. Before that most of the land that bananas were grown on in the Caribbean had been previously used to grow sugar.
Historically bananas were not the sweet yellow banana we know these days but were of the red and green cooking variety, now usually referred to as plantains. Plantain bananas had been originally full of hard seeds and had to be cooked to before consumed. The skin hard with an almost leathery texture.
The yellow sweet banana was actually a mutant strain of the cooking banana, which was discovered in 1836 by Jamaican Jean Francois Poujot, who found that one of his banana trees on his plantation was bearing yellow fruit rather than the usual green or red. He, of course, tasted it and found it to be sweet in its raw state, without the need for cooking and so cultivation of this strain began.
Soon after they were imported from the Caribbean to New Orleans, Boston, and New York, and were considered such an exotic treat, that they were eaten on a plate using a knife and fork.
What’s your favourite way to eat bananas? My wife loves Pisang Goreng – a banana sliced in two, battered and fried! For me, I like it frozen on a stick instead of ice cream or in any other form such as banana bread.
This month at IB HQ, our flight 774a is made up of cocktails using bananas in up to five different ways! We look forward to sharing them with you!
50 ml Banana Whisky*
5 ml Good quality maple syrup
2 ml of Islay Whisky (I love to use Lagavulin 16)
- Combine both ingredients over ice in a mixing glass and stir 10 times.
- Double strain into a glass over ice and garnish with lemon peel discard as well as a Pocki Stick 🙂
- Dehydrate bananas and combine dehydrated bananas with blended whisky of your choice (I like a more fruitier style of blended whisky) and let it sit 24 hours.
- The ratio between whisky and dehydrated bananas is 10:1.
- Once whisky is infused, strain the bananas, bottle the whisky, label and enjoy.
Bartenders’ note: Have you tried to freeze bananas before you use them in cocktails?