Skip to main content

Savory Cocktail Twists

May 13, 2013 11:05AM ● Published by Brian O

WRITTEN BY KIM COOPER

Sweet flavors often take the lead when it comes to cocktails— whether it’s through liqueurs, simple syrups, or fruit purees and blends. But there seems to be room at the bar for a quirkier cocktail, these days. Savory undertones are the newest trend when it comes to mixed drinks. A slight punch of saltiness or a kick of spice can liven up even the most timid of drinks.

The important thing to note when it comes to savory elements is subtlety. The flavors can’t be a smack in the face. Instead, allow them to be a delicate undertone, giving an unexpected twist. Cocktails with a savory edge can be split into the following categories: nuts, salt, vegetables, and herbs.

NUTS

Nut-based cocktails, such as Frangelico and amaretto, were absent from bar menus for many years. Often thought of as either too unsubtle or too overtly feminine, people seemed to avoid them like the plague. But nutty libations seem to be taking back cocktail menus by storm. Flavors of pistachio, walnut, peanut, and even acorn are finding their way into a range of mixed drinks, adding richness, depth, and complexity.

For an excellent pairing, try a nut-based cocktail alongside bittersweet chocolates. The flavors of the nuts balance out the chocolate, making for an exciting combination.

SALT

Salt is commonly considered a cocktail afterthought, simply rimming the glass of a margarita, for instance. While using salt in unexpected ways isn’t a new idea—think salted caramel—when added directly to cocktails, it can add just the right amount of kick. Oversalting, however, can be the ruination of an otherwise perfect drink. The trick is to use a careful hand. Remember: salt can always be added, but once in, it can’t be taken away.

VEGETABLES

Vegetables are showing up in more places than your standard Bloody Mary. Stalks, tubers, and edible plants are being pureed, muddled, and mixed into all kinds of different cocktails. Options are limitless when it comes to vegetable-laden cocktails, but it’s best to think in terms of seasonality. In the summertime, you can combine bright, colorful heirloom tomatoes into your drinks, or for a zesty wallup, add chopped jalapeños to simple syrup and mix them with an acidic cocktail. The spice will cut through the acidity and leave you with a burst of bold flavors.

HERBS

Herbs are no stranger to libations of all varieties, but they give an unexpected twist to cocktails. Mint, for example, is cool and astringent, playing well against a range of fruit flavors, including those in the classic mojito. Meanwhile, rosemary lends itself well to gin, basil pairs well with cherries, and thyme tends to complement blackberries, adding layers of dimension with each sip.

Two to Try

NOUVELLE FLEUR
(salt cocktail)

1 oz. St. Germain
1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. pink grapefruit juice
2 oz. sparkling wine
2 pinches salt

Combine all of the ingredients except wine in a shaker with ice. Shake well for 15 seconds. Pour into a glass. Top with sparkling wine.

Makes 1 cocktail

PINEAPPLE BASIL SPARKLER
(herb cocktail)

3 medium basil leaves, rolled and chiffonade cut
half a lime
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz. gin
club soda

Put the basil and lime in a glass and muddle. Add pineapple juice, gin, and some ice cubes. Top with club soda. Garnish with some sprigs of fresh basil.

Makes 1 cocktail

Today recipe
  • Get a running start on your holidays with the Annapolis Striders at their annual Lights on the Ba...


  • Annapolis Running Classic

    11/18/2017
    07:00AM

    Annapolis Running Classic Highlights: -Great premium for all half marathon and 10k finishers ...


  • Brew and Bourbon Classic

    11/18/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Come experience the sixth annual Brew and Bourbon Classic Saturday, November 18th, 12–5 p.m. at L...


  • Lights on the Bay

    11/18/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Lights on the Bay, run by the SPCA of Anne Arundel County, will open to the public on Saturday, N...


  • The Great Turkey Chase

    11/23/2017
    08:00AM

    The Kent Island Running Group will again welcome runners, walkers, families, and out-of-town gues...


  • Turkey Chase Charity Race

    11/23/2017
    08:30AM

    While others are putting turkeys in the oven or nestling on the couch watching the Macy’s Day Par...


  • Annual Turkey Trot 5K

    11/23/2017
    08:30AM

    On Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 23rd, the Y will host its Arnold Turkey Trot Charity ...


  • An annual tradition continues! Runners of all ages are invited to gobble up the Fleet Feet Sports...


  • Festival of Trees

    11/24/2017
    10:00AM — 09:00PM

    Kennedy Krieger Institute kicks off the holiday season by welcoming Santa Claus to their winter w...


  • Chestertown Antiques Show & Sale

    11/24/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    Now in its 54th year, the Chestertown Antiques Show & Sale, set for Friday, November 24th (4–7 p....


  • Festival of Trees - Preview Party

    11/24/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Celebrate “All that Glitters” at the 32nd annual Festival of Trees presented by the Friends of Ho...


  • Festival of Trees

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 09:00PM

    Kennedy Krieger Institute kicks off the holiday season by welcoming Santa Claus to their winter w...


 

 

Towne Social