Cocktail lexicon

Tamango - Cocktail

  • Hibiscus leaves (Rosella)
  • Tamarind fruit
  • Fresh ginger root (with flower if possible)
  • Mango
  • Pure alcohol from the pharmacy
  • Acetone
  • Lemon to garnish

This is how the Tamango cocktail is prepared:

The sweet tamarind fruit must first be fermented with sugar for days until a slight fermentation odor develops. Then pour a little water over it, leave to stand for a further 2 days, stir well and filter through a linen cloth, squeezing the cloth thoroughly.

Boil the hibiscus leaves and ginger root until a reddish, pinkish color is visible.
Puree the mango and chill both.

Then, when everything has cooled down, first pour the pure alcohol (approx. one finger high) with a little acetone 1-2 drops into a traditional 0.25 ml disposable plastic cup or better into a lowball glass and mix with half a teaspoon of mango puree.

Then slowly pour over the ice-cold hibiscus-ginger water and stir.

Now stir in two tablespoons of the fermented, ice-cold tamarind water.

Garnish with a slice of lemon.

All ingredients should be ice cold, as traditionally no ice is added to the tamango.

Note on the Tamango cocktail recipe:
The various waters added to the pure alcohol make the drink approx. 70% strong.

The mixture of alcohol, acetone, fermented tamarind, boiled hibiscus leaves and ginger produces an extreme alcoholic effect and should be drunk with caution.

Did you already know?

The Tamango is an Italian cocktail, brought over from Africa by Elena di Lorenzo, which is mixed with rosella leaves and tamarind, which are said to give it a hallucinogenic effect.
There are various stories about the strange and "narcotic" effect of this drink, which consists of about 70% of pure alcohol and a little acetone and is the specialty of a pub near the University of Turin.

The red color of tamango comes from the leaves of rosella, a type of hibiscus that is said to produce effects such as an excessive need to dance mixed with uncontrolled euphoria.
The slight, petrol-like smell of Tamango comes from acetone.

How should the Tamango cocktail be drunk? Sip one half in one go and the other half slowly.

In Africa, a similarly prepared drink is traditionally consumed on various occasions, such as weddings or funerals.
As pure alcohol is often very difficult and expensive to obtain, people have resorted to fermenting the tamarind fruit and cheap acetone.
The boiled ginger root and especially the ginger blossom, as well as the rosella leaves then make the right mixture for the drink.

The name Tamango comes from a short story by the French writer Prosper Mérimée from 1829 (which was later made into a film) about a slave revolt on a ship.