Provoking bitterness

 

Cola nitida “petit cola” digestive, stimulating soda

You can substitute the jara lemon with yuzu and lemon, or orange and lemon, or lime and lemon

You can substitute the jara lemon with yuzu and lemon, or orange and lemon, or lime and lemon

As a masticatory in its raw form the fruit tastes very bitter, but as you chew the segments, you will go through this bitter astringency and after that subsides, you get a gentle albeit elusive sweetness. Nothing you would want to chew on without the promise of a felt and noticeable stimulation of your central nervous system. Petit cola or Cola Nitida is inherently very bitter. When consumed in a sweet solution it can remind you of quinine (the bitter compound in Tonic water that comes from the bark of the cinchona tree.) And also the gentian root bitterness (Suze, Gentiane). The bitter principles of gentian root are one of the most bitter natural compounds known and are used as a scientific basis for measuring bitterness. Anyway back to the mouthfeel of chewing petit cola, it is pungent as well as bitter and almost soapy and waxy, but all is not lost as you may distinguish notes of grapefruit peel, more precisely the very interesting bitter compound naringenin (found most abundantly in yuzu peel). Naringenin has been found to display strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities. The caffeine in the kola nut also helps increase the absorption of this promising citrus flavonoid. Welcome sudden and exhilarating stimulation from a blend of plants from different parts of the world.

Add to blends with clear spirits as it’s unique bitterness will add verticality to any cocktail.

Add to blends with clear spirits as it’s unique bitterness will add verticality to any cocktail.

Ingredients & method

50 g (about 4 or 5 units) Bitter kola “Petit cola”
2 units (Jara) Lemon
500 mg (about 20 units) Sansho or black pepper
60 g Sugar
250 g Water

Peel and grate the kola fruit/nut
Cook it in the water for 20 minutes, until thickened.
Filter that mixture.
Pound the whole pepper berries in the mortar into a powder. Inhale that spicy uplifting aroma!
Zest the (Jara) lemon (wild orange which you can find in shops in Bethnal Green or any specialty Indian/Pakistani shops) and pound the zest with the sugar and the powdered pepper. Let it infuse for at least 20 minutes.
Add this to the still hot filtered kola mixture. Let it infuse ideally for a few hours. But another 20 minutes will do. Add the lemon juice (about 100g) and filter the whole mixture.
Add sparkling water to create a soda.