The Rising Trend Of Salty Cocktails

As the late Kingsley Amis – Martin’s dad – once declared, “Drink is a contentious subject.” Take the world of cocktails, ever torn by unresolved controversies that may appear minor to the outsider but are of paramount importance to serious drinkers.

“I have seen grown men close to blows over whether you should or should not bruise the mint in a Mint Julep.”

Amis speaking again. There are the classicists, such as British food and wine writer and broadcaster Matthew Fort, who says, “Am I alone in finding that the modern habit of tinkering around with classic cocktails is pernicious? Heaven knows, it’s hard enough to find the original made properly before you start messing about. Classics are classics for a very good reason. Leave well alone.”

And then there are the avant-gardists, keen to push cocktail creativity to the limit. Like the mostly Milanese mixologists who have got Italian booze buffs smacking their lips recently with their cocktail salati: salty cocktails flavoured with pickles, molluscs, crustaceans, plain salt, salts aromatised with dehydrated, crushed herbs, even seawater.

How did it start?

The phenomenon exploded earlier this year with a barrage of publicity in the media, and at traditional springtime food and wine and beverage events such as Vinitaly in Verona and Identità Golose in Milan. The latter’s cocktail connoisseur Luigi Barberis went so far as to say that, “After decades of darkness, a veritable mixology revolution is under way.”