The combination is simple: Cynar and Punt e Mes, a little lemon juice and orange bitters, finished with salt on top of the ice. The mixture is rich, at times sweet and others tart and sometimes tongue-curlingly bitter.
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Salt—it's not just for margaritas any more. Bartenders have long understood that a few drops of bitters go a long way toward 'rounding out' the rough edges of a drink, and now they've figured out that a tiny amount of salt can create the same magic. Today, we look at some of the hows and whys as we explore how a few tiny grains can up the flavor of your favorite mixed drinks.
As a bartender scattered kosher salt on the top surface of a lemony gin sour at an event recently, a waiting patron gasped. "What is that?" she said. "Sugar?" Nope. It was salt, and I didn't bat an eye, because lately I've been seeing a ton of salted cocktails coming from the country's top bartenders. And I'm not talking about salt in Bloody Marys or other naturally savory drinks, either—I mean juicy, fresh, slightly-sweet cocktails like classic sours and aperitifs, with a pinch of salt or a few drops of saline solution. Sure, folks have salted the rims of their margaritas forever, but salt in cocktails has now moved into the glass.
Salt reduces the bitterness in coffee, but only in moderation of course. That second pinch might turn it into a salt lick. Jacob Grier of the blog Liquidity Preference gave it a try and while he doesn't actually recommend doing it on a regular basis, "if you're stuck drinking acrid brew at the airport at 5 a.m., then maybe this salt trick could come in handy." Perhaps french fries should start doubling as coffee stirrers?