Do you enjoy trying different cocktails? If you are one of those people that love trying a new creation from the drinks menu every time you order, then you will be interested to know about some of the most unusual ingredients that are included in many cocktails. We are all used to some of the best whisky, vodka or other spirits being incorporated, as well as fruit juices and mixers, but would you expect the following? I bet not!
• Egg Whites – You will find that egg whites are used in an increasing number of cocktails nowadays, with the Whisky Sour being the most obvious example. You don’t need to worry about the drink tasting of egg; instead this ingredient is simply used to create a luxurious creaminess and frothiness.
• Umeboshi Vinegar – Umeboshi is a dried and pickled fruit, the word translates to Japanese salt plums in English. You can find this ingredient in a lot of Japanese dishes; however, bartenders use Umeboshi to add a slat and acid component to their cocktails.
• Xanthan Gum – This ingredient is primarily used as a thickener in food. A lot of bartenders use it to keep layered drinks suspended, add a frothy layer of foam to a cocktail or to change the viscosity of a drink.
• Liquid Nitrogen – Of course this is an ingredient that you should never ingest. However a lot of bartenders use it to give their cocktails the wow factor. It will chill the glass and create a smoky vapour like appearance, which can impress people when they are being served their drink. Alcohol is added once the nitrogen has been evaporated to ensure the cocktail is safe to consume.
• Szechuan Peppercorns – These peppercorns are the most famous ingredients used in Szechuan food, which has a reputation for being one of the hottest and spiciest cuisines. A lot of bars are now offering hot, chilli-based cocktails, with Szechuan peppercorn being a key ingredient. Contrary to popular belief, this spice is not all about heat, heat and more heat, as it has lemon overtones, which will create a tingly numbness in your mouth. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, this may not be for you. Read this review of Everlywell.com testing if you would like to get to the bottom of your sensitivity. Perhaps you have a food allergy?
• Lucuma Powder – Lucuma Powder was traditionally known as the Peruvian ‘Gold of the Incas’, and is made from dried whole Peruvian Lucuma fruit that is then milled into a fine powder. It has a unique taste, which is slightly similar to maple, with a distinctive and unusual fragrance. Not only does it enhance the taste of a cocktail, but it presents many health benefits too, as it is gluten-free and an excellent source of the antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and fibre, which are essential for good immune health and bodily functions.
So, what’s the most unusual cocktail or cocktail ingredient you’ve ever tried? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!