Once upon a time, nutmeg was one of the most valuable spices. It has been said that in England, several hundred years ago, a few nutmeg nuts could be sold for enough money to allow one to live comfortably for the rest of their life.
What we know as Nutmeg, is actually the hard brown seed of nutmeg trees. It is known for its warm, spicy sweet flavour. Meanwhile, Mace is a spice made from the waxy red covering that surrounds nutmeg seeds.
The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7-9 years after planting, and the trees reach their full potential after 20 years. Nutmeg and mace have similar sensory qualities. However, while nutmeg is a slightly sweeter, mace has a more delicate flavour and is often preferred for its bright orange, saffron-like taste.
The flesh of nutmeg fruits is often juiced, pickled or made into chutney, while grated nutmeg seeds are used in as seasoning in both savoury and sweet dishes. In Indonesia, nutmeg flesh is used to make jam, or finely sliced, then cooked with sugar and crystallised to make fragrant candy.
In the realm of spirits and bartending, Nutmeg is traditionally used in mulled cider, mulled wine and eggnog. In the Caribbean, nutmeg is used in beverages such as the Bushwacker, Painkiller and Barbados rum punch. Here's a cocktail for you to try out:
30ml Captain Spiced Rum
20ml Nutmeg Arak
10ml Mace Syrup
25ml Cirtus Juice
5ml Mace Tinctures
25ml Nutmeg Sorbet
25ml Egg White
1. Add all the ingredients into a shaker and dry shake.
2. Follow with a quick shake with ice.
3. Garnish with red mace and a slice of dried lemon.