Cocktails are moving well beyond the realm of “drink before dinner” and are an event in and of themselves. In fact, the seasoned cocktail patron is looking to be excited and often wants new experiences.
In some cases, those experiences may need to be unique—enter the less-common ingredients or exotic world spice blends. In other cases, an experience needs to be grounded in the familiar to be more approachable, for which fats, teas, produce and popular sauces may work better.
Using uncommon ingredients in beverages offers significant benefits well beyond that of flavor enhancers or profile creators. Spices and unique produce items can create gorgeous visual effects. The dramatic presentation opportunities with smoke are endless.
But as in the culinary world, balance is key in beverages. Many of today’s less-common beverage ingredients like spices and smoke have strong flavor profiles that could easily overpower and unbalance the best of cocktails.
With a thoughtful approach, the pantry for signature beverage development offers tremendous opportunity. Consider uncommon beverage ingredients when designing new beverages or bar menus in the coming months and seasons.
Putting Nontraditional Beverage Ingredients Into Action: Why & How
- Accenting/supporting uncommon world spirits
- Supporting culinary innovations/specials
- Effectively using perishable ingredients
- Experimenting with new, trendy ingredients
- Increasing cost effectiveness of limited-order ingredients
- Reflecting the local culture, environment, resources
- Color creator/enhancer
- On-glass garnishes
- In-beverage inclusions/garnishes (like the gold specks in Goldschläger)
- Flavoring the glass
- Presentation elements
- Subtle flavor enhancers
- Seasonal flavors/specials
- Reviving/reimagining standard or traditional cocktails
Read more: 10 Next Level Beverage Ingredients