From Uni to Aloe—6 Ways to Kick Your Cocktails into Savory Overdrive
From fungi to foie gras, the weird ingredient cocktail game across the nation is growing by leaps and bounds. We had our hesitations about trying some of them out, and especially about attempting to make any ourselves, so we did a bit more research and realized the flavor profiles aren't as unfathomable as one may think.
We rounded up six of the most interesting ingredients we could find, to kick up your cocktail game and make your next gathering with pals a bit more memorable.
Lauren from Wicked Spatula makes a wicked aloe vera margarita with tequila, aloe vera juice, lime juice, honey syrup, and salt for the rim. If you want to try fresh aloe vera juice, it's fairly easy to make at home—just make sure to avoid the aloin sap between the latex and inner gel of the leaves because of its laxative properties.
The James Beard Awards finalists from Ox restaurant in Portland are not only known for their Argentinean fare, but also for their crazy creation, "Foie the Hell of It." This specialty cocktail is made with Laird's Apple Brandy, Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Bourbon, lemon juice, ginger syrup, puréed strawberry and rhubarb preserves, egg white, lemon bitters, and a pinch of pepper. The potent potable is topped with frozen, shaved foie gras terrine.
Bizarre though it may seem, this signature drink has foie gras aficionados and non-aficionados alike imbibing and loving it.
Seasonal cocktails mean nothing without the wonderful accents of Mother Nature's produce. Those bountiful farmers market bins overflowing with sweet peas have inspired the minds of the culinary scientists crafting your drink. The fresh and delicate flavors of peas work well with tequila, gin, dry vermouth, pisco, and dry sherry (to name a few).
There's no better way to bring out flavors of the season, we think, than in a drink like the sweet pea cocktail from Spoon Fork Bacon.
Why not bring a piece of the sea to your cocktail? Kelp contains vitamins and nutrients and adds a unique complexity to the beverage world. It brings umami to the drink, that magical fifth flavor that goes with salty, sour, sweet, and bitter.
Mixologist Benjamin Schiller crushed a seaweed challenge by making a drink called "Three if by See" that has kombu in the drink, the ice, and as a garnish. If you're looking for some further inspiration, check out the how Bejing bartenders keep it real with kelp.
Uni is the edible part of the sea urchin. This vaguely sweet sea treat is a standard sushi ingredient, so why not mix it with alcohol and make a sushi-esque cocktail?
At the Pot Bar inside the Line Hotel in Koreatown, Los Angeles, the uni cocktail is created with puréed sea urchin, tequila, nori, and cumin. The uni purée mixes with a grassy tequila and smoked applewood salt to create a cocktail only the wildest mixologists (or marine biologists) could fathom.
Nope, we're not talking about carrot juice... we're talking about carrot syrup. It's actually pretty easy to make at home using water, white sugar, and shredded carrots, similar to how grenadine is made. Andrew, from Oh So Beautiful Paper, creates a fizzy and fresh drink that combines carrot syrup with dry gin, lime juice, Aperol (an Italian aperitif), and ginger beer.
From the sweet to the savory, raise a glass to these cocktails that can bring a little bit of weird to your Friday night imbibing. Have any bizarre ingredients you like to add to your buzz-worth concoctions? Let us know in the comments below!