In the pastry world, desserts that contrast savory notes with sweet ones—like salted caramels—have been steadily gaining in popularity. Now this same trend is making waves on the cocktail scene.
Stolichnaya recently rolled out a new Salted Karamel bottling and Wave is planning to introduce a Chocolate Covered Pretzel vodka later this fall. Meanwhile, whiskey company XXX Shine released their new Salted Caramel Whiskey.
While the salted rim of a margarita glass will never go out of style, here are four new and innovative drinks bartenders are mixing up that have a salty edge—and they’re easy to make at home.
East River Defense
Recipe courtesy Erick Castro, mixologist at Northern Spy Food Co. in New York City
Based on a classic cobbler template, sea-salted ice gives this drink a refreshing ocean-air tang.
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
3 ounces Manzanilla Sherry
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
3 dashes Scrappy’s grapefruit bitters
Soda water, to top
Grapefruit wedge, for garnish
Scoop ice into a Collins glass, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. In a cocktail shaker, combine Sherry, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Shake well and strain into the glass over the sea-salted ice. Top with soda water, garnish with a grapefruit wedge and serve with a straw.
Recipe courtesy Tona Palomino, beverage director of Trencherman in Chicago
For this culinary-inspired cocktail, Palomino rims the glass with Tajín, a Mexican seasoning made with powdered chili peppers, dehydrated lime juice and salt, creating a salty-spicy twang.
Lime wedge, for glass rim
Tajín seasoning, for glass rim
1½ ounces lollipop rye (recipe below)
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
¼ bar spoon lemon jam
Run a lime wedge around the rim of the cocktail glass of your choice to moisten, then dip the rim of the glass in the Tajín. (Learn how to rim a cocktail glass.) Pour lollipop rye, lemon juice, simple syrup and lemon jam into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared glass.
4 lemon lollipops, sticks removed, or substitute with lemon hard candies
1 cup rye whiskey
Set lollipops in whiskey. Cover tightly and allow the whiskey to infuse overnight. Strain the whiskey through a cheesecloth into a bowl and cover tightly until ready to use.
Recipe courtesy Chris Keil, owner and bar manager of 1022 South in Tacoma, Washington
At 1022 South, this ode to salted caramels is made with rich demerara sugar syrup infused with applewood-smoked salt. For home bartenders, we suggest using an equal amount of caramel syrup.
1 ounce Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Vida
1 ounce Zaya rum
1 teaspoon caramel syrup
1 pinch applewood-smoked salt (available at saltworks.com)
Combine mezcal, rum and caramel syrup in a large rocks glass over a single large ice cube. Stir to chill, and finish with one small pinch of smoked salt.