Slideshow: Ask a Bartender: What Ingredient Do You Want To See More Often?

Cognac
Cognac
"Cognac! Cognac and brandies of that sort are ideally suited to cocktails: they have a natural acidity that really plays well with other ingredients and brings a lovely dry fruit character to a cocktail." —Mike Ryan (Sable)
Orgeat
Orgeat
"Orgeat! It's an amazing substitute for simple syrup and gives a hint of nuttiness in the aftertaste. I love a great Mai Tai!" — Pedro Melgar Flores (Saltbox)
Old school liquors
Old school liquors
"Old school liquors like Poire William’s distilled pear eau de vie. And seasonal herbs, like rosemary, thyme, or ginger." — Paul Ziminski (Benoit)
Vermouth
Vermouth
"I wish people would use more vermouth, and understand it properly. It really does need to be chilled after opening and not kept on the shelf. It can truly add real character to a cocktail." — Nate Howell (Cusp Dining & Drinks)
Tahitian Vanilla
Tahitian Vanilla
"Tahitian vanilla. I have a signature cocktail that I’ve been using for 8 years – a Key Lime Pie Martini, and it is really something else. But, people don’t realize that vanilla doesn’t have to make for a sweet drink. I want everyone to know how it can really deepen the flavor of the cocktail." — Anthony Adriani (A Voce)
Fresh juice
Fresh juice
"Fresh juice! I dream of the day when I can go to any bar, not just the cool cocktail bars, and get a decent margarita. No sour mix." — Sarah McComber (South Water Kitchen)
Peppers
Peppers
"One ingredient I wish people used more in cocktails is peppers, I love drinks with a nice kick to them." — Vincent Lee (Lucy Restaurant & Bar)
Seasonal
Seasonal
"I'm a big fan of anything seasonal. Up here, what's in season gets to be moderately challenging to work with, so it really stretches the creative bounds of a bartender. Beets, sage, fennel, vegetables that are more savory or earthy. I think towards either barnyard, as in a red from the Rhone, or savory. I end up using modifiers like acid phosphate, lactart, salt, smoke, etc, to really get to the heart of these drinks." — Elizabeth Powell (Liberty Bar)
Cognac
Cognac
"I'd say cognac. You don't see it that often, and it's a great ingredient! Especially this time of year!" —Brian Means (Fifth Floor)
Vermouth
Vermouth
"Vermouth! These days there is such a range of vermouth from Blanc to Rosato, basically rosè vermouth, which can be that missing link to turn good cocktails into great ones. " — Joel Teitelbaum (Harry Denton’s Starlight Room)