Savory Cocktail Trend Alert

We're so over sugary appletinis and blue Malibu rums -- the new cocktail is infused with unexpected ingredients like jasmine tea and bacon (yeah, you heard right). Steal one of these recipes and work with your caterer to add some creative flavor to your reception.
by the knot
  1. Savory Ingredient: Thyme

    Claire Barrett

    Made in a classic style with Bols genever, a re-released herbal gin predecessor, this cocktail should balance bitter with just a hint of sweet.

      "Thyme for Romance"(makes 1)
    • 1/2 in. piece fresh ginger
    • 1 and 1/2 oz. Bols genever
    • 1 oz. thyme-infused simple syrup (see below)
    • 3/4 oz. lime juice
    • Dash Angostura bitters
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme

    Muddle ginger in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add Bols genever, simple syrup, lime juice, bitters, and ice. Shake and strain into a small cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

      simple syrup:
    • 2 cups granulated white sugar
    • 1 cup water

    Pour sugar and water into a small saucepan and, stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and refrigerate in a glass jar.

    Excerpted from The Bubbly Bride, by Natalie Bovis ©2010 Globe Pequot Press

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  2. Savory Ingredient: Sweet Peas

    Claire Barrett

    This cocktail infuses snap peas with an aromatic Japanese liquor called shochu. It's delicious enough to stand on its own, but would also pair perfectly with sushi or fish.

      "Sweet Pea Cocktail"(makes 1)
    • 2 ounces sugar snap pea infused shochu (see below)
    • 3/4 ounce brewed and cooled jasmine tea
    • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
    • 1 sugar snap pea on a bamboo skewer

    Shake infused shochu, tea, and simple syrup with ice. Strain into small cocktail glass or martini glass. Garnish with a snap pea on a bamboo skewer across the rim of the glass.

    Sugar Snap Pea-Infused Shochu:
    Add 4-5 sugar peas (or snap peas) to a 750-milliliter bottle of shochu and let stand for at least 24 hours.
    For simple syrup recipe, see slide 1.

    Excerpted from The Bubbly Bride, by Natalie Bovis ©2010 Globe Pequot Press

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  3. Savory Ingredient: Fig

    Frankie Frankeny

    OK, so maybe fig isn't the first thing you think of when some says "favorite food ever" but that's precisely why it works well in a cocktail. Blended with thyme, and accented by lime and pisco, it's an unexpected flavor your guests won't forget.

      "Fig Thyme"(makes 1)
    • 1 fig, quartered, plus 1 extra quarter for garnish
    • 1/2 ounce Thyme Syrup (see below)
    • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
    • 1 and 1/2 ounces pisco
    • 1/4 ounce Cointreau
    • Sprig of thyme for garnish

    In a mixing glass, muddle the quartered fig with the thyme syrup. Top with ice and add the lime juice, pisco, and Cointreau. Shake until cold, and then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the remaining quarter of fig and sprig of thyme.

      Thyme Syrup
    • 1 cup of sugar
    • 1 and 1/2 cup water
    • 5 to 6 sprigs of thyme

    Add 5 to 6 sprigs of thyme (or more if you want a stronger flavor) to the sugar and water, and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool, strain through a sieve, transfer to a bottle, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

    Excerpted from: The Art of the Bar, By the Bartenders of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar by Jeff Hollinger (San Francisco, California).

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  4. Savory Ingredient: Tomato

    Frankie Frankeny

    Why wait until the "morning after" to serve the usual tomato drink: Bloody Mary's. Instead, try out this cocktail, which really lets the pure tomato shine, along with cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice for a little kick.

      "Tomato Kiss"(makes 1)
    • 3 to 4 'Sweet 100' tomatoes, halved
    • 10 to 12 cilantro leaves
    • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 slice habanero chile (optional)
    • 1 1/2 oz. silver tequila
    • 1/4 oz. Cointreau
    • 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
    • 2 'Sweet 100' tomatoes, skewered for garnish (optional)

    In a mixing glass, muddle the tomatoes, cilantro, and salt into a paste. Top with ice and add the chile (if desired), tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice. Shake until cold and strain into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass. For a "cleaner" presentation, this drink can be strained through a fine-mesh sieve.

    Excerpted from The Art of the Bar, by Jeff Hollinger and Rob Schwartz ©2006 Chronicle Books.

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  5. Savory Ingredient: Prosciutto

    Courtesy of Natalie Bovis

    If you've ever been to Italy, you already know that prosciutto (ham) and melon is a classic pair. This cocktail simply builds on that traditional idea, but keeps things fresh with maple syrup and lemon juice.

      "Prosciutto E Melone"(makes 1)
    • 1 oz. bacon-infused Vodka (see below)
    • 2 oz. fresh cantaloupe juice
    • 3/4 oz. maple syrup
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    • Garnish: cantaloupe melon ball wrapped in prosciutto

    Vigorously shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Lay skewer on rim of glass.

    A simple recipe for bacon-infused vodka: Buy a simple non-infused vodka, like Smirnoff or Svedka. Fry up several strips of bacon and, after they've cooled, place them in the bottle. (You can also add black pepper or even some herbs at this point for an extra kick). Let sit for three weeks (do not refrigerate). When the three weeks are up, separate the fats and oil from the mixture by cooling the vodka in your freezer. Strain the vodka through some cheesecloth or a coffee filter to remove the bacon bits. You'll be left with a slightly yellowed clear liquid with an excellent bacon flavor.

    Excerpted from Amy's Culinary Adventures "underground" Bacon Dinner, by Natalie Bovis, aka The Liquid Muse

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  6. Savory Ingredient: Basil

    Melissa Punch

    Grappa is mainly served as a "digestivo," an after-dinner drink to aide in digestion. Basically bitter, there are plenty of people that might not want to serve this at their wedding -- or ever. That's where the infusion comes in. Blending it with lemon and basil softens this drink just enough to make it a crowd-pleaser.

      "Basil Grappa"(makes about 1 and 3/4 pints)
    • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
    • 1 Tbl. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 3 cups grappa
    • 1/2 cup Simple Syrup

    Put the basil and lemon juice in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the basil leaves and lemon juice. Add the grappa, stir, and seal. Place the container in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight. Let sit for one week, swirling occasionally. Add the simple syrup, stir, and reseal. Return to its spot. Let sit for two more weeks, swirling occasionally. Strain the liqueur through a double layer of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other easy-pouring vessel. Strain again through two new layers of cheesecloth into one large bottle or a number of small bottles or jars.

    A Serving Suggestion: Serve Basil Grappa chilled or at room temperature in small glasses; it's especially good for alleviating that over-full feeling when you’ve had a couple bites too many.

    Excerpted from Dark Spirits, by AJ Rathbun ©2009 Harvard Common Press.

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  7. Savory Ingredient: Cucumber

    Tim Turner

    Maybe cucumber doesn't seem that out of the ordinary to you -- but when you're pairing it with elderflower liqueur and spearmint leaves you get something reminiscent of a grown-up mojito minus all the sugar. (And in case you're wondering about the name, yes, the drink did originate at The Ritz-Carlton).

    "The Cesar Ritz"(makes 1)

  8. 2 oz. (60 ml) Plymouth gin (original strength)
  9. 1 oz. (30 ml) St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  10. 6 chunks of peeled English cucumber
  11. 10 to 12 fresh spearmint leaves
  12. 1 oz. (30 ml) of fresh-squeezed lime juice
  13. In a mixing glass, muddle cucumber and mint with St-Germain. Add gin and lime juice. Shake with ice until well blended. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with three wafer-thin slices of English cucumber.

    Excerpted from The Modern Mixologist, by Tony Abou-Ganim ©2010 Surrey Books.

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