Cocktails Go Savory

With summer in full swing, one of my favorite things to do with friends is to meet at a local establishment, preferably one with a patio, and relax with a cocktail.  If you’re anything like me, you have your favorite.  Mine is a gin and tonic.  There is nothing like a really crisp, dry gin topped with bubbly tonic and a perfect slice of tart lime to lend refreshment.  For me, it’s the taste of summer. For others, it’s predictably boring.

Enter the savory cocktail. Mixologists from Dallas to Minneapolis and New York to LA are shaking up bourbons and bacon, melding peppers and vodkas, and blending scotch and seaweed. Being a foodie at heart, I love the idea of savory cocktails because they are designed to pair well with food. Every restaurant will have one; they go with everything and will become the new classics.

Consider Dallas mixologist, Alex Fletcher’s Lost In Translation, a concoction with 12 year Japanese whiskey, Cocchi di Torino, and a mushroom thyme demerara. Fletcher is quoted as saying that the demerara was to created to make an “umami bomb” and could even be used alone to accompany scallops.1 Famed Minneapolis watering hole, Marvel Bar and its equally famous beverage director Pip Hanson, marries seaweed with Laphroaig 10-year overnight to create The Old Man and The Sea.  Described as an “aggressively full-flavored dram”, Hanson serves the Laphroaig with a splash of water “to open it up. The result is a full bandwidth of smoke, brine, peat, umami, and ocean all packed into a single sip, as likely to appeal to the hardcore Scotch connoisseur as to the cocktail geek.”2

I don’t know about you, but it might be time to experiment with some Nikken ingredients and create some savory cocktails of our own. We think our Seaweed Powder or Wheat Free Soy Sauce Powder would work beautifully in your next savory cocktail.  And for a recipe or two, check out Greg Henry’s, Savory Cocktails, a best seller that will fill some highballs at your next dinner party.  I particularly like the sound of the “Better with Bacon” made with steeping sliced bacon with peppery rye, lime juice, simple syrup and liquid smoke. With bacon in a cocktail, one could never be called predictably boring.