Cocktail-inspired Sauces

A NYC chef turns to the flavor profile of mixed drinks for inspiration in the kitchen.

People cook with wine and even beer all the time. So why not cocktails?

So rationalized Patricia Williams, the Executive Chef at NYC'S Nios restaurant last fall, when she created a mojito sauce for her Cuban pot roast. Williams thought the mint within the drink would complement and blend particularly well with the dish's ingredients, which include included cumin, salt pork, sofrito and orange zest. However, her method did not involve just mixing one up and pouring it over the meat.

"I took inspiration from the drink by using the ingredients that go into the mojito, not the actual drink itself," says Patricia Williams in the kitchenWilliams. "I pulled from the mojito's flavor profile and went from there." This wasn't the first time this innovative chef has experimented with popular drinks in the kitchen. In fact, she recently created a martini salad, where the dressing includes gin and the salad is tossed with pickled onions and olives stuffed with blue cheese. For home cooks, she suggests experimenting with favorite cocktails and keeping an eye out for complimentary flavors. Recipes for her mojito sauce and martini salad are listed below:

Mojito Sauce Recipe

1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon 10k rum
¼ cup sliced mint
Pinch of sugar

Heat the butter and the olive oil over low heat until it starts to foam. Remove pan from heat and add garlic and shallots. Add lemon juice, rum and mint, adding sugar to taste.

Martini Salad Recipe

1 cup crème fraiche
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon gin
1 tablespoon dry vermouth
1 teaspoon ground juniper berry
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons salt
2 grinds of fresh pepper
1 lb. washed frisee lettuce
12 pickled cocktail onions
1 teaspoon ground juniper berry
12 large martini olives
¼ cup blue cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Place the crème fraiche, lemon, gin, vermouth, juniper, heavy cream, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Add the frisee and toss until coated. Set aside. In a small bowl, toss the cocktail onions with the juniper. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the blue cheese and cream. Stuff the olives. Divide the salad into four salad bowls. Add three onions and three olives to each serving.












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