Six Unusual Cocktails

These daring drinks push the envelope with unexpected ingredients.


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From a cocktail inspired by a famous flesh-eating flower to a cipollini-onion drink, these six cocktails should top your unusual tipples list. Here’s where you can enjoy some rare cocktails, and even create one at home…if you dare.

Photo courtesy of Michael Harlan TurkellThe Audrey 2:

(Courtesy of Jackson 20 in Alexandria, Virginia)

The hibiscus blossom and reddish hue of this drink are meant to recall the flesh-eating flower of the classic flick The Little Shop of Horrors. Originally created at Virginia bar Jackson 20 to use up a surplus of product, The Audrey 2 is now so popular, bartenders can hardly keep enough tea liqueur and hibiscus syrup on hand.

2 ounces Milagro Tequila
2 ounces Chamomile Citrus Berry AperiTea (Mighty Leaf)
1 ounce Wild Hibiscus Flowers in syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Shake all ingredients and strain into a highball glass with ice. Garnish with hibiscus flower and a salt/sugar/ginger rim. [Use two parts sugar to one part salt to a ½ part of ginger].

 


Photo courtesy of Aaron Johnson

 

Agro Dolce:

(Courtesy of Tulio Ristorante in Seattle, Washington)

Here’s a version of agro dolce, a sweet and sour sauce used in Italian cooking. The two basics—vinegar and sugar—are included here.

For Agro Dolce:
1½ ounces of Absolut Citron vodka
½ ounce white balsamic-orange syrup (see below)
Juice from ½ a lemon
Sugar (for rimming glass)
Cipollini onion, for garnish

For white balsamic-orange syrup:
Peel and pith of one orange
½ cup white balsamic
½ cup sugar
1 cup water

To make the orange syrup: Dissolve ingredients into the water, boil and simmer, reducing mixture to about a ¼ a cup. Should be thick like syrup.

To make Agro Dolce: Dip the rim of a martini glass into lemon juice, then dip into sugar. Combine vodka and orange syrup into a shaker filled with ice, strain into the martini glass. Garnish with the cippollini onion.


Photo courtesy of Aaron Johnson

Prosciutto and Melon:

(Courtesy of Tulio Ristorante in Seattle, Washington)

Savory cocktails aren’t anything new, especially at Tulio Ristorante in Seattle. But a martini made with honeydew melon-infused grappa and prosciutto? Brilliant.

1½ ounces of chilled honeydew-infused grappa (let grappa infuse with honeydew melon for up to one month)
2–3 honeydew or cantaloupe balls
2–2 pieces thinly sliced prosciutto
Toothpick or spear

Chill honeydew-infused grappa by shaking over ice, then strain into a martini glass. Wrap each melon ball with a slice of prosciutto, spear with toothpick and add to martini.

 


Photo courtesy of Josh Pearson

 

Something Dutch:

(Courtesy of Sepia in Chicago, Illinois)

Created by Sepia’s Head Mixologist Josh Pearson, this drink features vinegar—but thankfully, not the kind you disinfect with. The unusually named ingredient “rhubarb shrubb” is a sweetened fruit vinegar, giving the Something Dutch (made with Bols Genever gin, Pineau des Charentes, lemon and orange bitters) a bit of bite.

For Something Dutch:
1½ ounces Bols Genever
1 ounce Pineau Des Charentes rosé
¾ ounce rhubarb shrubb (see below)
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Dash of orange bitters
Lemon peel, for garnish

For rhubarb shrubb:
1 pound diced rhubarb
1 pint strawberries
1 tablespoon dried Angelica root (can be found online)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup Champagne vinegar
1 cup white sugar

To make rhubarb shrubb: Boil all ingredients. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until rhubarb is broken down. Pass through cheesecloth and add Champagne vinegar and white sugar. Let cool and bottle.

To make Something Dutch: Shake all ingredients in iced cocktail shaker and strain into chilled cocktail glass (such as a Champagne coupe). To finish, express oils from lemon peel and discard.


The Mohawk:

(Courtesy of Kenneth Gray, bar manager at Lafitte, in San Francisco)

It may be illegal to smoke in bars these days, but you can put the nicotine back in your beverage with this tobacco syrup-laced libation.

For The Mohawk:
¾ ounces tobacco syrup (see recipe below)
2½ ounces Rye Whiskey
½ ounces Bonal Gentiane-Quina
Dash of Decanter bitters
Lemon twist, for garnish

For Tobacco syrup:
Dried whole leaf tobacco
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar

To make tobacco syrup: Bring cold water to a boil in a saucepan, add sugar, then lower heat. Next, add dried tobacco leaf and stir constantly until sugar dissolves completely. Test if sugar is completely dissolved by using a metal spoon to scoop up a small bit of syrup. Tilt it over the pan and watch carefully. There should be no crystals in the liquid. Let syrup cool to room temperature. Pour into a clean glass jar and refrigerate.

To make The Mohawk: Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker. Stir with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.


 Double Truffle Martini:

(Courtesy of Duo in New York, New York)

Perhaps you thought truffles were just for that brief period in the fall, or were for fancy pasta dishes? Think again. This truffle-based drink is made with Double Cross Vodka and dry vermouth, but, unlike your typical martini, truffle juice is added to the mix and the whole thing is finished off with a truffle-stuffed olive.

3 ounces Double Cross Vodka
½ ounce dry vermouth
½ ounce truffle juice
Truffle-stuffed olive, for garnish

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, then pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a truffle-stuffed olive.

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