2-1/2 cups superfine sugar, to taste 5 cups water 1/4 cup palm sugar 1 quart ice cubes 4 stalks lemongrass, + extra for garnish 2 chunks ginger, about 3 inches 1/4 cup crystallized candied ginger, cut in half
For the lemongrass: Wash the lemongrass. Remove all the white powder from the leaves and also a few outer leaves. Cut the stalks in half and crush them with the back of a chef's knife. Cut the remaining stalk into extremely thin slices using a chef's knife. In a mortar and pestle, grind the thin slices of lemongrass, then transfer and mix everything using a mini food processor. It should turn into a fine moist powder. Set aside. For the ginger: Clean the ginger, carefully removing any dirt. You don't have to peel it. Thinly slice both chunks. Set aside. For the lemongrass water: Combine the water and lemongrass powder. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Filter through a fine sieve. For the caramel syrup: In a sauce pan, melt the sugar without any water over high heat. It's important to carefully watch the sugar; as soon as the edges of the pan start caramelizing, immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Gently jiggle the saucepan in circles. Do not use a spoon! Lower the heat to the lowest setting when there are only a few remaining non-caramelized pieces. Don't let the sugar get dark brown or you'll get a burnt taste. Assembly time: When all the sugar is an amber color, remove from the heat, pause for about a minute (be careful of splattering when the water is added), then slowly add the boiling lemongrass water, palm sugar, fresh ginger and candied ginger. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Bring back to a full boil then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and cool completely.