Sunday, August 2, 2009

Savory - and culinary - cocktails

At the recently opened Copa d’Oro bar in Santa Monica, Calif., customers find one of the latest twists in the evolution of drink making: the market menu.
Arrayed before them and listed in great detail on the menu are all the fresh ingredients bar owner Vincenzo Marianella gathered that morning at a local farmers’ market, much as chefs have been doing for years.

Conspicuous among the usual fruits — strawberries, grapes, oranges and such — is a rainbow of herbs and vegetables: basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, habenero peppers, wasabi, ginger, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots. What happens with these farm fresh ingredients is quite culinary in style. Customers pick a spirit by price, select a few fresh ingredients and watch as Copa d’Oro’s bartenders custom-make their drink.

“It’s the most popular part of our menu,” says Marianella, adding that many of the drinks are made with the most savory of available ingredients.

At many other bars and restaurants across the country, the cocktail renaissance is taking a distinctly savory turn, with mixologists employing ingredients and culinary techniques that expand the flavor options of mainstream drinking.

“Working with savory ingredients treats people to an entirely different flavor spectrum they may not be used to,” says Jamie Boudreau, bar director for Seattle’s Tini Bigs and a spirit and cocktail consultant. “When I first started
making cocktails, my inspiration was pastry books, but then I started looking at chefs and what flavors they make work together.”

(Read the rest of the story, below, originally published in the Summer 2009 issue of Flavor and the Menu magazine.
Flavor - Savory Cocktails

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