One Thumbed Gypsy

A couple of years ago I was traveling in southern Spain. While in Sevilla, my companions and I kept hearing about an incredible flamenco troupe that was headed by a legendary old guitar player. He had played around the world for many years and garnered a reputation as a true virtuoso. Recently he lost a thumb in an accident and disappeared, seemingly into obscurity. After a year in seclusion, he re-emerged and had completely re-taught himself how to play without the use of his thumb. I was privileged enough to see him perform, and it was an utterly life-changing experience. This is my humble homage.... And the shrimp is supposed to be his other thumb.

Recipe courtesy Tippling Bros., Tavernita, Chicago, IL
TOTAL TIME: 35 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 15 min
Cook: 5 min
YIELD: 1 serving


  • 1 1/2 ounces cachaca, such as Leblon cachaca
  • 1 ounce Red Pepper Saffron Syrup, recipe follows
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
  • Ice, for chilling
  • 3 drops bitters, such as Bitter End Moroccan bitters
  • Thinly sliced red bell peppers, for garnish
  • 1 shrimp, grilled, for garnish
  • 4 red bell peppers, pith and seeds removed, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 20 threads saffron
recipe tools


Combine the cachaca, Red Pepper Saffron Syrup, lemon juice and orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Dash the bitters on top for aroma. Garnish with thinly sliced red bell peppers and the shrimp.
Puree the peppers in a blender with about 1/2 cup water. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a saucepan. Add the sugar, 2 1/2 cups water, the paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder and saffron. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Yield: 4 cups.


This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional and may have been scaled down from a bulk recipe. The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.



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