Sunday, 23 January 2011

longans... and longan rum

A few weeks ago, I spied, to my delight, some longans in the supermarket. I get excited about longans even in Malaysia, my home country, where they are plentiful, but even more so now that I live in Australia, where they are scarce.

Longan is actually a transliteration of "dragon's eye" as it is known in many Asian languages. Looking at the fruit itself, you can see how the longan got its name!

fresh longans, aka dragon's eye fruit.

The typical longan has pearly, translucent flesh that gives way with just a little wobble and crunch as you bite down upon it. It then fills your mouth with sweet juices suggestive of earthy notes and just a slight floral hint.

I devoured most of the longans, but I saved a few so I could make some longan-infused rum. My recipe below makes a pitiful two shots (60ml), so I would definitely recommend you multiply that by several times. Seriously, what was I thinking? Oh right, I wasn't. I was too busy gobbling down those fresh and delicious longans...

4 longans
1/4 cup rum
a pinch of Chinese yellow rock sugar

Peel the longans and discard the seeds. Place the longans and sugar in a clean glass jar, and pour rum over them. Close the jar tightly with its lid and store in a cool, dark place for a month or so.

After about four weeks, I opened it up for a taste, and voilĂ , it was longan rum! The longans still looked so sweet and innocent, but I tasted one and it was like pure alcohol, so into the bin they went. (Sorry, my little beauties.) I am pleased to say that the rum itself was beautifully infused with longan flavours, and with its edge taken off by the Chinese yellow rock sugar, this resulted in a fruity, mellow liqueur. I really do wish I'd made more.


So now I need your help, my dear readers. Since I have precious little supply of this, I need to use it wisely. I thought about just having it on the rocks, perhaps with a dash of honey. Simon isn't a fan of rum on the rocks, and prefers it mixed with something like Coke, but I'm concerned that such a combination would hinder rather than highlight the longan flavours. What do you think would go well? Do you have any suggestions? Bring them on!

 fruity, tasty longan-infused rum.

26 comments:

  1. How creative! THis sounds like sweet dessert "wine'.

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  2. Hmm... it does a little, doesn't it? Perhaps I could drink it just as it is, slightly chilled!

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  3. For some reason, I've never had rum with 7up or Sprite before. But that could work - thanks for the idea! :D

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  4. That is the coolest-looking fruit I have ever seen. I need to find a way to get my hands on some of those. Especially if they go well with rum. I like rum, and for a lot of reasons, but primarily because it has alcohol in it. I like a lot of things for that reason.

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  5. a really tasty fruit; when we first bought it in Kuala Lumpur during our visit over there, we thought it was lychee, quite a common mistake for Europeans :). But it tastes differently; I like its sweetness and texture. Great photos!

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  6. I've never had a longan. But they do look like dragon's eyes...in the coolest way.
    I can't suggest anything 'cause I can't imagine their taste. But a longan flavored rum is delicious, I bet!

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  7. Wow...longans soaked in rum! Must be so good after a meal :D I haven't seen longans for a long time. Hope to find some in the Chinese shops.

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  8. LONGANS PWN LYCHEES!! Or any other form of fruit... I really love them!!!

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  9. Thanks everyone!

    Rich - they did go well with the rum. I read somewhere that tropical fruits go well with rum.

    something good - glad you enjoyed the longans in Kuala Lumpur!

    Indie.Tea - hope you get to try them one day. They should go well with one of your beautiful desserts!

    MaryMoh - true, they're not always easy to find - sometimes I make do with the canned longans.

    msihua - yes longans are awesome! Though I adore lychees too. Luckily I don't have to choose between the two!

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  10. Fantastic idea! You know how typical Chinese wedding dinners usually end with a longan almond jelly dessert (at least in SG)? If they used this longan rum, I think everyone will be asking for seconds! Lol.

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  11. I find longans such an interesting fruit! Buy them way too seldom though :-)

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  12. Ju - oh yes I like that longan almond jelly dessert... I guess this could be an alternative, haha!

    Maria - I find that they are sold too seldom, too!

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  13. I've always liked lychees more than longans, but then again I haven't had the latter in a squillion years so it's probably time to retest my preferences!

    Hmmm.. perhaps you could serve a little bit over good quality ice cream? Or make an affogato?

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  14. I had lots of longans around CNY in HK. I love them. It was some work to peel off to get the flesh out but so good. I once had a jelly like dessert made with longans and boy! it was good. Love your pictures.

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  15. Good thinking Hannah! Perhaps I can make some kind of float/spider out of it.

    beyondkimchee - thank you! I agree that it can be a bit of work but that the results are worth it!

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  16. I wouldn't mix this rum with a soda like Coke or 7-Up; it would overpower the infusion of the longans. Try mixing it with something simple and light like grapefruit or pineapple juice. (Add some lime juice and triple sec to make it a true cocktail!)

    OR you could get fancy and mix it with champagne. That'd be idyllic!

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  17. Thanks kriege! I agree, simple and light is the way to go. Still yet to do anything with it, life's been a little hectic - will definitely update with a post once I do so.

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  18. I live in the States and never heard of these. I do not know if they are avail??...however, would you ever bake with this fruit?..and what??

    I just love learning about something new :)

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  19. Hey astheroshe - love your enthusiasm! I'm not sure how common fresh longans are in the States, but you should be able to find the canned versions in Asian grocery stores.

    Longans have quite a high water content so I have yet to attempt to bake with it - but who knows, maybe I will one day! In Asia, fresh or canned longans are generally served very simply in cold drinks and desserts such as jelly.

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  20. Thanks for the info :)..I will keep my eyes open for them, now that i have heard of them ! Cheers!

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  21. I think the only way to deal with your problem is to make more longan rum. Much more. ;)

    PS: If you're ever craving longan, there's always tons in Footscray when they're in season. :)

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  22. I like the way you think Agnes! And thanks for the tip. :D

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  23. whoa.. just discovered your blog. longan rum sounds divine! i'm thinking a kinda ice kachang/granita variation. just simple shaved/crushed ice perhaps, plus nata de coco and cincau?

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  24. min, that is an absolutely fantastic idea! I think I'm going to have to do something like that. :D

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  25. definite on the rocks!!! or maybe a splash of pineapple w/ seltzer? I'm loving your blog!

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