Episode #031 – Savory Cocktails

Savory cocktails

Salty, vinegary, “umami”, smoky, spicy, herbal, peppery, the list goes on. But exactly what is a Savory Cocktail?

The types of flavors that build into a savory drink can go on-and-on. Ranging from the classic (a dirty Martini with olive juice, or a Gibson, a Martini with a cocktail onion) to the range of new infusions and combinations, savory cocktails run the gamut. What exactly makes a savory cocktail? Those flavors above are part of it, but above all else, we’d have to say that savory cocktails are made by their complexity; they bridge the gap between a lot of foods and the world of cocktails. In fact, as a home bartender, you may find yourself wanting to pair these drinks with food; this should be highly encouraged.

Sweetness and sourness are certainly more prevalent in the cocktail world. “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak” goes the old rhyming-recipe for Rum Punch, one of America’s first superstar liquor concoctions. Other flavors, especially sweetness, are often at-odds with a savory consistency in a cocktail. What creates the complexity in a savory cocktail is a balance between flavors. A savory cocktail should not be made without sugar or sweetness; the sweetness should be made to match the other flavors while taking a back seat.

In this episode, you’ll learn about:

  • A few savory cocktail favorites of Jordan and Alex;
  • How to incorporate the oft-potent savory flavors nicely;
  • The extra-importance of balance in savory cocktails; and
  •  A few of the better flavor pairings to start with.

What’s a Shrub?

Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times by Michael Dietsch

Shrub Cocktail: MR. KRABAPPEL by Shrub & Co.

  • 2 oz Johnny Drum Bourbon
  • .75 oz Shrub & Co Apple
  • Half a lemon, quartered
  • 1 tsp raw cane sugar

Garnish: togarashi (a Japanese spice blend) rim

Glassware: Old Fashioned Glass

How: Muddle lemon with sugar in a shaker, then combine bourbon and shrub.  Add ice and shake well.  Strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass with togarashi rim

Savory Sweets:

One of the best ways to introduce some savory flavors to your repertoire is to switch up your sugars—which is often a flavor often at odds with our goal here—to a savorier flavor. A few suggestions:
Falernum (FAY-learn-em) contains flavors of almond, ginger and/or cloves, and lime, and sometimes vanilla or allspice.

Orgeat (OR-zhat) is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rose water or orange flower water; the effect is heightened with a bit of cumin, which pairs well. El Guapo makes a Creole Orgeat Spiced Pecan Syrup that is unreal.

Infused Simple Syrups: This is where you can drive most of your savory-sweets, by making simple syrups with, among others, Dill, Thyme, Spiced Plum, Roasted Figs, Smoked Paprika, the list goes on.