Last Updated on December 10, 2020 by Novotaste
BENGALURU: Conventionally, it was assumed that cocktails are too strong to be paired with food, and that they should be enjoyed on their own. But in recent times, say in the past five years, pairing them together has become an increasingly commonplace dialogue, motivating bartenders and chefs to critically think of how cooking complements different drinks and vice versa. The wall between the kitchen and the bar seems to slowly merge as bartenders search for new, magnetic flavours and combinations to take classic cocktails to the next level in terms of taste, texture and complexity.
Culinary cocktails have now become prevalent in restaurants and bars, leading to newer and more innovative ways of collaborations. These are cocktails with a culinary twist. From using waste products of vegetables, fruits, simple cooked ingredients, puree and other such by-products, cooking methods such as fat washing and sous vide are incorporated to create that perfect cocktail.
Peels, seeds, skins and even roots of fruits and vegetables, components that are usually thrown away in the kitchen, contain many interesting flavours. These add to the cocktail’s taste. Even stems and herbs are now recycled for creative and delicious drinks. Not only does it break away from the usual norms of creating a cocktail, it also ends up being economical for the bar.
Kitchen staples like star anise, cumin, fennel seeds, saffron, coriander seeds and other such ingredients play an integral part in adding to the style and spirit in a culinary cocktail. We have also seen ingredients such as beet, kale, sage and cucumber juice being featured on cocktail menus. Celery, primarily used as garnish, is also juiced for intense-flavoured cocktails. Other niche elements such as turmeric and black truffle peels help elevate the overall taste and experience.
As bartenders seek new ways to differentiate their own drinks, as well as keep themselves from stagnating behind the bar, the culinary cocktail concept will gain more steam. The simple logic in it is using the leftovers from the kitchen to create something brand new.
Another trend on the rise is to use garnish for visual appeal. Edible flowers, offered in many seasonal options, have become integral ingredients. Some of the popular garnishes are blue pea flowers, hibiscus, citrus blossoms, honey combs and roses. Cheers to innovation!