Cardamom is a spice made from the seed pods of two different genus in the ginger family: Green cardamom is in the Elettaria, and Black Cardamom (which is not true cardamom, but has a similar aroma overlaid with a smoky richness from the drying process) is in the Amomum genus.
The woody husk of the cardamom pod can be split open to reveal a number of small, hard black seeds that provide the majority of the aroma and flavor compounds. The sharp, mentholly aroma of green cardamom is mainly from cineole, but other chemicals such as limonene (lemony) , pinene (pine, resinous) , and linalool (Lily of the Valley, Gewurztraminer) also are present.
Cardamom has many culinary uses, ranging from being ground into coffee in Turkey and the Middle East to baked goods in Scandanavia, and garam masala in Indian curries. It is also a minor flavoring agent of some gins.
Because of cardamom's powerful flavor, it is difficult to use in cocktails. It would probably be best to lightly muddle whole pods of cardamom, and double straining the drink to remove all traces of the woody, inedible pod.
Some popular cocktails containing Cardamom
- Far East Algonquin — Rye, Bitters, Cardamom, Pineapple juice, Lemon juice, Simple syrup
- Cardamom Pear Martini — Vodka, Pear eau de vie, Cardamom, Simple syrup, Lemon juice, Pear
- Punky Monkey — Añejo rum, Bourbon, Bitters, Peychaud's Bitters, Cardamom, Agave syrup, Pineapple juice, Lemon juice
- Venus and Cupid — Reposado Tequila, Sweet vermouth, Aperol, Grapefruit juice, Egg white, Cardamom
- A Pair of Pared Pears — Añejo rum, Pear puree, Lime juice, Ginger juice, Cardamom