5 Things That DO NOT Belong In Cocktails

I know that in the past I have advocated putting some unusual ingredients into cocktails:  Chile Peppers. Kimchi. Curry. Vinegar (in gastrique form). Bacon. But I’ve tried them and they are all delicious, if slightly oddball, so I’ve had no problem recommending them to you.

But yes, I do have limits, teflon tastebuds or not. And I’ve officially reached my limit with the five ingredients listed below. No, this is not an arbitrary list:  every last item has either been served to me (in which case I’ve tried it…and regretted it) or a drink recipe featuring one of these offending ingredients has crossed my desk very recently – from otherwise reputable bartenders, no less.

Just Say NO:  Five Ingredients That Have No Business In My Cocktail Any Cocktail:

 1. Huitlacoche.  Aka “corn smut” or “corn fungus” or “corn yeecchhh.”

2. Fish.  That includes salmon and anchovies (and yes, I’ve seen both lately)

3. Tiny floating seeds.  They look like bugs. Grind ‘em up or leave ‘em out.

4. Beeswax.  Honey – yes. Honeycomb – sure. Beeswax? NO. Not even to coat your glass. Remember those Halloween wax lips?

5. Garlic.  The one exception is a Bloody Mary, and even then you should think twice.


6 thoughts on “5 Things That DO NOT Belong In Cocktails

  1. But I assume Worcestershire sauce is OK. Its ingredients include anchovies.

    Ooops! Sorry about the seeds in the kumquat-clementine cordial that I gave you at the winter solstice party! It was meant to infuse the spirit with flavor, not you with disgust!

  2. Diana, I think you’ve found the one loophole to “no fishies in cocktails”: Worcestershire!

    And your kumquat-clementine cordial was lovely, don’t you dare give that a second thought. I wasn’t even thinking about that, anyway…rather, I was thinking about two cocktails I tried recently, one with whole fennel seeds floating on top, another with nigella seeds. Both reminded me of crunchy little bugs.

  3. interesting article i thank god that i have not had drinks with any of those ingredients yet. kara have you ever tried a basil seed? i think they are yummy and could be used well in cocktail recipes. does squid ink count as fishy? im thinking of Duggan McDonnell drink i saw once on Great Cocktails.

    • Hi Laura! I have to admit that I’ve never had a drink with basil seeds nor squid ink. I think I’m going to stick to my ‘no whole seeds’ rule, but I’d be willing to give squid ink a try. Maybe at Tales we can try a squid ink cocktail. I’ve had squid ink pasta and although it didn’t do much for me it wasn’t bad either. So maybe it might do OK in a cocktail. A squid ink cocktail….wow, that’s a new one to me!

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