Sweet to Savory: A shift in American Cocktail Culture

savory_cocktail_harticlePhoto Credit: Charles Masters

While America has a long cocktail culture to be proud of, they have also long battled with a reputation for overly sweet drinks. The British, The Aussie (mine included) and European palates have often commented on the cloying drinks in the US.

So it’s with great interest and anticipation that I’ve watched the groundswell behind Savory Cocktails. It started a few years ago with a move back to the classics. Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and other boozy concoctions became an everyday call.

Cocktails are rapidly becoming more nuanced as old recipes and techniques are uncovered; they are moving away from sugar and becoming more balanced.  Balance is not a science, but basic parameters apply – not too sweet, not too sour, and not too hot from the alcohol.

Recently I’ve noticed vinegar popping up on cocktail menus across the city. Saxon & Parole, Peels and Frankies 570 all offer vinegar spiked drinks. Non-alcoholic versions are also showing their head, notably at Pok Pok Wing on the Lower East Side who offer a range of delicious Thai fruit vinegars topped with Soda.

Vinegar is popular for a couple of reasons – the acid lengthens and enhances the flavors of the cocktail while balancing out the sweetness. It’s cost effective as you use so little and its stable; it’ll never really go off and doesn’t need to be freshly produced each day.

When you see vinegar drink pop up on a menu at your local bar, try it – your palate might just like it.

RECIPE: Honey Som Fizz

1.5 oz. Bulleit Bourbon

.5 oz. Som (Pok Pok Honey)

.75 oz. lemon juice

.25 oz. gum syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice. Pour into old-fashioned glass on rocks and top with soda water

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Written by clyon

May 30th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

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