Herbs and spice make it nice
Getting into it with your cocktail game? Have you ever considered the influence of herbs and spices on the flavour of your cocktail? And how do you combine them?
Go with the seasons
There is a reason you will mostly find light, fruity and zesty cocktails in tropical or hot locations when you travel. Heavy spices can be overwhelming when the weather is hot. Stick to lighter spices or herbs when you're in spring of summer. Check out what's in season or available in stores around you. Who knows, maybe someone you knows has a vegetable garden and grows fresh cilantro or lavender. Locally sourced and great for your drinks. Come fall or winter time, when the weather turns chilly, go for spices that keep you warm on the inside. Cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg are great additions to any winter inspired cocktail.
When you want to start pairing flavours you need to keep in mind that there are two ways of pairing your flavours. Congruent matching focuses on the flavours that ingredients have in common, e.g. both have an umami flavour. Or Complementing flavours, these do not share many flavour compounds but go great together like watermelon and salt or Bourbon and Emmental cheese.
Interesting pairings to make
If you are open to it and love trying something adventurous, most herbs and spices can be really great companions to your cocktail, even the ones you may not have thought of before. There is a fun tool that could help you with putting together your next great drink: foodpairing.com
The online tool allows you to experiment with different products and it will show you what ingredients have matching compounds!
Interesting hebs you may not have used before
Soft, delicate and to most quintessential Italian, but did you know that there is a Dutch gin that actually tells you to add some basil to its gin and tonic? The taste? Maybe not for everyone but it gets a lovely fresh, anis flavour when combined.
Yes, yes, I know.. consider it the Marmite under the herbs but if you, like me, like the flavour of cilantro, it can be a real game changer in a fruity cocktail. The sweetness of the fruit is complemented by an herbal, nearly grassy flavour, making it lovely and fresh.
I would always advise you to use pepper, whichever version of it, carefully. A spicy Margarita can be a dream come true or a tropical nightmare. But when applied correctly, it can give your mulled wines (or beers) a great kick.
Normally I would serve dill with salmon, rarely in a cocktail but the other day I saw a brilliant Dirty Martini recipe that actually called for a dill pickle and an additional sprig of dill to be served in the glass. It can have an overpowering taste so handle with care.
Considered a power herb, adding powdered turmeric to gin and gingerbeer cocktail is something I had never imagined I would be doing but wow, that changed my mind. Refreshing and just a little different.