3 of a Kind: Curry Cocktails
3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.
Mixologists approach drinks the way chefs tackle food — making sure the flavors are well-balanced throughout the entire drink. So much as chefs rely on a spice pantry to season food, bartenders are using spices to balance spirits, whether salty, savory, floral or spicy. Curry is one of the more popular flavors adding an unexpected twist to classic cocktails.
James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Tory Miller knows food, so it was a no-brainer for his bar manager, Dominique Robert, to snag the same curry blend Miller uses for his popular Khao Soi to create the Curried Pineapple Daiquiri. The spice blend for this ultrapopular cocktail special (curry powder, turmeric, coriander and cardamom) is infused into a simple syrup that Robert combines with pineapple puree and lime juice. He then adds five-year barrel-aged rum and a couple of drops of salt tincture, shakes and strains it all into a coupe glass.
Michelin-starred Mourad delivers well-thought-out interpretations of Moroccan-meets-Northern-Californian cuisine. To complement the food, cocktails here bring together unexpected flavors. One of the best examples is the seasonal Curry & Milk cocktail, made with a dash of curry tincture, salted pistachio syrup, lychee-coconut milk, gin and fresh lime, which tempers the rich flavors of the food. There is also a curry-cardamom drink, made with curry leaves, green cardamom, lemon, sparkling wine and bourbon.
This funky bar extension of self-described “inauthentic Asian” restaurant Smallwares names each drink for its primary spirit, then mixes in unexpected flavors. For whiskey, the team pairs the citrusy notes of Old Overholt rye with a warming garam masala syrup (that includes nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and cumin) poured over a large piece of ice with a lemon twist. Take it as Barwares’ version of an old fashioned.
Photos courtesy of Samantha Egelhoff, Mourad and Johanna Ware.