Cocktail Trends | Smoky Scotch, Jamaican Jerk Seasoning and Quince-Infused Vodka
The best part about the craft cocktail renaissance is the boundary-pushing bartenders who strive to create unique flavors every day. From mimosas made with Scotch to Lapsang Souchong infused Gin, bartenders all over the country are creating new, amazing cocktail flavor combinations.
Interesting Ingredient: Islay whisky
Chris Burmeister from Outpost in Santa Barbara, California makes a take on the mimosa called the “Smokeamosa”. He’s playing on the idea that people who enjoy a bloody mary with their brunch might be willing to try a mimosa if it had the smoky, peaty flavor of an Islay whisky. “A Smokemosa is a riff on a mimosa, basically by adding a ½ oz. of smoky, peaty single malt scotch to a standard mimosa recipe,” says Burmeister.
Like many drinks, the genesis of the “Smokeamosa” is a little murky. “I can’t say for sure when it was invented, but was thought up by our former chef when we opened about a year and a half ago.”
The flavor is a little different from the mimosa you’re used to and if you’re willing to try it, you’re in for a cocktail with a big smoky nose with hints of malts and a bit of salinity.
“The freshness of the orange juice and the effervescence of the sparkling wine really bring the character of the scotch to the forefront, but balance nicely.”
The smoky peaty flavor and nose of the scotch is in large contrast to the fresh orange juice and floral bubbly sparkling wine. “That contrast makes for a nice balance of delicate and bold.”
Someone would want to try this drink as opposed to the usual mimosa or bloody Mary because it’s a fresh new take on the classic morning cocktail. “Maybe a mimosa just won’t do it for that guest? Maybe that extra ABV and bold flavor is what’s going to save them after their night previous?”
Peated whisky is a flavor and character that many people are either not familiar with, or have never tried. “It’s a nice and approachable way to get guests to step outside their comfort zone and try something new in a form that they are familiar with (a mimosa).
One of the reasons Burmeister loves the drink is because it’s so easy to make. “A smoky Islay Scotch works best, but any type of Highland or Speyside scotch can add a nice depth to a traditional mimosa at home too.”
Calle Chaos Theory
Interesting Ingredient: Jamaican Jerk Infused Rum
We’ve all heard about fat-washed whiskey, but Darren Grenia, Bar Manager at Dear Bushwick in New York makes a Jamaican jerk rum. He started with a “house” Jamaican jerk seasoning but left out the real savory components that are normally found in a jerk like dried ground onion and garlic. “Then I steep the seasoning in Owney’s Rum overnight.” The next day, he filters the drink several times to make sure there is no unwanted sediment. “The taste is very multi-dimensional,” says Grenia. “Spicy, slightly salty, notes of clove and nutmeg.”
He uses Owneys, a local rum made in Bushwick. “It’s got a great molasses quality that works well with the jerk.” He uses it in a cocktail shot called “Calle Chaos Theory”. He pairs it with chicory-infused bourbon, molasses syrup and mole bitters. “It’s amazing,” says Grenia. “I haven’t tried it with anything else yet.”
If you’re not ready for Jamaican jerk infused rum, Grenia suggests checking out Dear Bushwick for other cocktail creations. “We are doing a lot of cool things here you should check us out if you can. We are the first draft only cocktail bar.”
Interesting Ingredient: Lapsang Souchong infused Gin
At New York’s Oiji, Head bartender Ryan Te is using native Korean spirits and flavors to create delicious, unique cocktails. His drink “Smoke House” which uses Lapsang Souchong infused Gin, Green Chartreuse, and Cynar to create a drink he calls both deeply aromatic and delicate. His take on the classic Negroni uses jasmine infused Hwayo 41 Soju in place of Gin.
Fall in Spring
Interesting Ingredient: quince-infused vodka
At New York’s Piora, Head Bartender Shinya Yamao makes a cocktail with Quince-infused vodka, yuzu juice, truffle maple syrup, Suze Orange bitters and tonic. The name of the drink tells a story. Quince is a fruit that is commonly harvested in the fall and it is used to infuse vodka for several months before it is finally used in the cocktail once spring has begun.
San Juan Bautista
Interesting Ingredient: wasabi-infused agave
At New York’s Salinas, bartender Joseph Quintela created a cocktail made with Alacran Blanco Tequila, cucumber juice, grapefruit juice, wasabi-infused agave (infused in house) and rice vinegar. It’s inspired by the flavors of a cucumber sushi roll. The create the cocktail, the ingredients are shaken before being strained two times. It’s then served on the rocks in a glass rimmed with lime juice and ginger salt.
Spring Day Cooler
Interesting Ingredient: Byrrh Grand Quinquina
At New York’s Timna, Beverage Director Amir Nathan makes the “Spring Day Cooler” with pineapple juice, Cocchi Aperitivo Americano, Byrrh Grand Quinquina (a French red wine aperitif flavored lightly with quinine and other ingredients, including coffee and bitter orange) and a pineapple wedge garnish for a refreshing yet complex spring libation.
The Lawnmower Man
Interesting Ingredient: Hophead vodka
Named for the 1992 science-action-horror film starring Pierce Brosnan, Timna’s “Lawnmower Man” uses Hophead vodka from Anchor Distilling and Cachaca 51 (Brazilian sugar cane spirit) with carrot juice, as well as a seasonal green market syrup utilizing fresh produce, and chili syrup for a little kick.
Interesting Ingredient: Chinese five spice-infused Jamaican rum
New York’s Fung Tu has a drink that uses a spirit similar to Darren Grenia’s Jamaican jerk infused rum. The High 5 is his take on a daiquiri with Chinese five spice-infused Jamaican rum, ginger simple syrup and fresh lime juice, garnished with star anise.