Glut of Rambutans? Have yourself a Rambutan and Lime Cocktail

In case you hadn’t noticed it’s Rambutan season in Sri Lanka. Stall holders are selling these little bright fruits absolutely everywhere and at frightfully cheap prices too (the cheapest I have seen is 3 rupees for 1 on the Kalu Ganga bridge at Kalutara near the Kalutara Vihara). I’ve been told these ridiculously low prices (last year they were more than double) are due to an abundant harvest this year.


This fruit, whose Malay name means ‘spiny’, is scarlet, maroon or golden-skinned and covered with short, fleshy hairs – not spiky as is commonly thought. Inside there is a translucent, sweet-sour pulp, which like that of its relative, the better-known lychee, covers the single seed. The pulp is sweeter in the better varieties, with those in which it easily peels off the seed being preferred.

So what to do when your house is full of these little gems but you have eaten too many and even the kids are turning their noses up?

Well, you have yourself a rambutan & lime cocktail. It’s easy to make and pretty damn tasty too. The recipe below is for two glasses – it doesn’t take a genius to multiply and make yourself a pitcher or two 😉

Rambutan and Lime Cocktail


  • 2 tsp. finely crushed jaggery (or palm sugar)
  • 4 limes cut into 16 pieces
  • 6-8 fresh rambutans, peeled, seed removed and chopped (canned is possible too)
  • 100ml vodka or Bacardi
  • ½ cup crushed ice



  1. Place crushed jaggery (palm sugar) and limes into a tall glass. Using the end of a rolling pin (or the pestle from a pestle and mortar…whatever you have to hand basically!) and crush until all the juice has been released from the limes.
  2. Add rambutans and continue to crush. Pour into a cocktail shaker along with the vodka and ice. Shake and pour into two tall glasses.
  3. Enjoy.
Rambutan & Lime cocktail - Enjoy!
Rambutan & Lime cocktail – Enjoy!

8 thoughts on “Glut of Rambutans? Have yourself a Rambutan and Lime Cocktail”

  1. A Thai market sometimes has this fruit for sale here but mostly it is canned version we enjoy around here.. I always laugh or smirk when I see the fruit as it resembles a certain anatomical part, after a good sun burn. I will make the cocktail for my Dad who loves the fruit.

    1. Let me know what he thinks. You are lucky in San Fran to be able to buy them. I have had e-mails from friends in the UK today who can’t find them for love nor money :-/

      1. Actually I went and bought about 20 Rambutans from the Thai market. I was told they were from South America, and might not taste the same as Asian varsities. I promised Dad that I will make the cocktail this weekend! I will let you know how it goes!

      2. You are a heroine in my circle, at least the elderly one. Saturday we went to a piano recital (yawn) and when we came home we had a few guests over. I prepared the drink substituting jaggery(?) for raw beat sugar and of course vodka, instead of Bacardi. Vodka was Chopin from Poland, matching the encounter with the classic composer earlier in the evening. I even learned about a few academic secrets from the visitors. Everyone absolutely loved it. My girl friend was sloshing them like elixir and she was the voluntary server. Many requested another round and I kept on making them until I ran out of Rambutans. Then it just dawned to me, this might be great with Bols / Genever 🙂 , next time! and thanks!

  2. Looks like a cool and deserved refereshment for the tropics. It comes into vogue equally if you have too many rambutans or too much vodka!

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