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The Opium Cocktail

The Opium is a bourbon-based cocktail created by Joy Daniel at Calle Dao, a Cuban-Chinese fusion restaurant that recently opened in New York City. It blends the bourbon with fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice, tamarind syrup, lemon juice and poppy seed for a surprisingly refreshing flavor.

Opium Cocktail drink with poppy seeds floating on top

This drink reflects that fusion by combining Cuban cocktail ingredients with Asian flavors. The tamarind adds a sweet and sour note with a hint of floral, while the poppy seed tincture works like bitters and the seeds themselves bring a slight nutty note. It’s a fascinating concoction.


  • 2 ounces Michter’s Bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce  tamarind syrup
  • 3/4 ounce  fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce  fresh lemon juice
  • 2 drops of poppy seed tincture
  • Poppy seeds

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Pour in the bourbon, tamarind syrup, grapefruit juice and lemon juice and shake until chilled. Pour into a glass over ice and garnish with the poppy seeds and tincture.