How To Make Savoury Cocktails At Home

Cocktails don’t need to taste like dessert, and there’s a whole world of complex drinks that skew spicy, herbal, and bitter.

A savory cocktail can provide a refreshing shock to the palate. And while the bloody mary may be the first drink that springs to mind when you see “savory cocktail,” there’s actually a whole world of layered, complex cocktails that run the gamut from spiced to herbal to bitter.

At the Dead Rabbit in Manhattan, the Listen to Reason is a peaty blend of Scotch, cognac, amontillado sherry, curaçao, tamarind, and celery bitters. In Birmingham, the Atomic Lounge crafts the Legendary Sex Panther, a bitter blend of bourbon, cynar, chicory liqueur, and bitters. At Savannah’s Artillery, the crisp, tangy Bit of a Pickle is a concoction of gin, balsamic, pepper and dill.

Demario Wallace is the bar manager at Aziza in Atlanta. The stylish restaurant located in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood serves up modern Israeli cuisine, and Wallace’s drink menu uses spices and herbs from that region. He offers two cocktails that skew savory: The Harissa Explains It All incorporates red pepper juice spiked with malic and citric acids, spicy agave, and mezcal resulting in a drink that’s smoky and spicy with a tinge of fruitiness from the red pepper; and the Tyrian Collins is a tribute to the shade of purple made popular by the Phoenicians. While the ancient civilization’s purple hue was made by extracting mucus from sea snails, at Aziza, Wallace uses beets. Beet-infused labneh, dry curaçao, and bitter pomegranate amaro are shaken and then topped with soda. “It’s very rooty and bitter,” Wallace says.

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