Food is increasingly infiltrating cocktail menus. Why, we’d even go so far as to suggest it’s almost making tipples almost a health drink (in moderation, of course).
Top of the list is swapping fruit for vegies – and it’s not just bloody Marys. Celery, kale, cucumber and carrot juices are a perfect match for lots of cocktail varieties. And then there’s the inclusion of on-trend gut-boosting fermented ingredients such as kombucha, and the super-fashionable turmeric with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Maybe not so healthy but more of a taste-booster is the trend for “washed” cocktails with fats. Think bacon-fat infused bourbon or butter-flavoured rum and duck-fat pungent cognac. It doesn’t rule out vegetarians either – olive oil and coconut oil are also making an appearance in the washing portfolio. And it’s not about making the drinks greasy; instead it’s the essence of flavours being carried through which give cocktails that savoury kick.
On the food front, herbs such as rosemary and thyme are still bringing strong garden flavours to beverages such as the old fashioned. And in a further step creating closer links between the bar and kitchen, edible garnishes are also on the menu, like edible flowers such as rose petals, or berries such as blueberries and blackberries.
There’s also a continuing focus on sustainable consumption – a focus on local produce and organic goods and rethinking whether excess or waste ingredients can be used in different ways before being thrown away.
The upshot: there’s a fair bit of thought going into the latest generation of cocktails, from health and flavour innovations, to consideration about the impact on the world around us.
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