Antoine Hodge, the beverage director of "Afro-Asian-American restaurant" The Cecil in New York City, takes inspiration for many of his fantastic cocktails from Harlem's neighborhood markets and African produce stands. His newest addition to the cocktail menu, Teranga, is a smart, super-refreshing (and zero-proof) take on the classic gin and tonic made with ditax, a tart, nutrient-rich fruit native to Senegal.
“We have a lot of Africans who are on our staff, both in the kitchen and the front of house, and one Saturday I toured three of the local African markets with one of our pastry chefs, Saran," Hodge said. "It was great to see so many ingredients and fruits that I had never heard of before, and Saran taught me about the flavor profile for each one: She introduced me to baobab, which I now use in a bourbon cocktail with spiced chile molasses and lime, and she showed me ditax, a fruit whose flesh, seeds, bark and leaves are all prized in Senegal for their nutritional value."
Hodge realized ditax would make a great syrup to use in cocktails—or mocktails.