Nobody asks any questions in Casablanca. It had been easy for the three men to find someone to buy the dinghy for enough money to get a room, eat dinner, and now sit down to relax and talk in a small bar.
Ignatius noticed framed pictures on the wall behind them. They all contained the likeness of a petite woman with short dark hair. He was curious because in every picture she was posing with a trophy deer, elk, or holding a very large rifle. “Hmmm, Annie Oakley, I presume,” he mused pointing to the photos.
“Nope. Ruth Smith. That’s me.” The female voice came from behind them. All three men turned to see that the woman who had spoken was the same as the woman in the photos.
The men were too surprised to say anything, so Ruth continued. “I can see the questions on your faces. Yes, I am a noted game hunter. I’m not hunting now because I own this bar. And… what’ll you gents have?”
“How about something special, a surprise.” DeForest made the request.
Ruth returned to the bar and the three men began discussing their next step.
“Ve need to get over two thousand miles south,“ Wilhelm shook his head in disbelief. “Over the Atlas Mountains, through the Sahara Desert, and into the jungles of French Vest Africa.”
The other men nodded.
“And then try to find the cave with the gold.” DeForest sounded doubtful.
“Unless, we could…“ Ignatius looked briefly hopeful… “but we don’t have enough money.”
“We could what?” DeForest prodded.
“There is a rail line that runs from Casablanca to Timbuktu. We could take the train. But we don’t have the money for the fare, let along money to buy food or provisions for that long a journey.”
Ruth brought the drinks to the table, then, stood back to see their reactions as they sampled her ‘surprise.’
“Ach, mein Gott, das ist gut,” exclaimed Wilhelm. Ignatius and DeForest agreed.
“That is fantastic. What’s in it? Asked Ignatius.
“Sorry. Family secret.” Ruth shook her head and smiled.
She started to walk away but she paused, looked around, and then turned back to the three men. “You know, I’m a little tired of this place and I miss a challenging hunt. Voices carry in this bar and I believe I might be a valuable partner in your mission.”
Ignatius looked at the other men then said, “We don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh,” Ruth said. “Little jaunt through half of Africa, cave with gold? How about no money to get there? As a full partner, I can finance the expedition.”
Ignatius looked at Wilhelm and DeForest. Wilhelm shrugged approval, DeForest nodded.
“Okay.” Ignatius agreed. “On one condition.”
“What’s that?” asked Ruth.
“That you tell us how to make this incredible drink.” Ignatius held up his glass.
“To get to go on this adventure? Well worth it.”
2 tablespoons black tea
20 cardamom pods, crushed
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup packed spearmint leaves, plus extra for garnish
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 ounces white rum
1 ounce white rum
1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater
make the cardamom tea concentrate:
Place the tea and crushed cardamom pods in a heatproof measuring cup, and add boiling water to bring the mixture to the 3/4 cup mark. Let steep 10-20 minutes. Strain the tea mixture into a jar, squeezing the liquid out of the tea and cardamom pods to extract all the liquid and chill.
Muddle the mint leaves and sugar together in another measuring cup to bruise the mint. Add the lime and lemon juices, starting with the smaller amounts; stir to dissolve the sugar.
Pour chilled tea into the mint mixture and then strain the mint/tea mixture into a pitcher, squeezing the leaves to extract all the liquid. Stir in the white and dark rums and the rosewater.
Fill large tumbler with ice and several mint leaves. Pour mixture over ice, leaving room for soda water. Top with a bit of soda water, stir, and garnish with a mint leaf.