Savory Garlic Cocktails for Healthy Spring Sipping
Lock up your vampires and break out the mouthwash: April is National Garlic Month. While garlic isn’t traditionally used as a cocktail ingredient, these recipes show how it pairs well with a variety of spirits. Roasted garlic and fermented black garlic add sweet accents, while raw garlic provides a piquant punch. Garlic is said to cure everything from baldness to scurvy, so here’s to your health!
Courtesy André and Tenaya Darlington, authors of Sprig & Spirit blog and The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks (Running Press, 2016)
- 1½ ounce dark rum
- 1 orange wheel, sliced into halves
- 3 basil leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
- 1 ounce black garlic simple syrup (recipe below)
- Soda water
Muddle basil and half an orange wheel in the bottom of a rocks glass filled with ice. Add black garlic syrup and rum. Stir, and top with soda water. Garnish with orange and basil.
- ½ cup hot water
- ½ cup Demerara sugar
- 3 cloves black garlic
- 1–2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Bring water to boil. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Pour the syrup into a blender and add garlic. Blend until the garlic is finely ground. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids. Add the vinegar and taste. It should taste slightly acidic with a sweet, earthy finish.
Courtesy Molly Wizenberg, author, Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage (Simon & Schuster, 2014)
Wizenberg’s cocktail comes from her memoir, Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage, which chronicles her and her husband’s experience opening a pizza restaurant in Seattle. It’s the signature cocktail of her friend Ben, who “overheard a man in a cowboy hat order it.” It calls for cheap gin. Wizenberg suggests rinsing the glass out with vermouth if you want to make it a martini.
- 3 ounces gin
- Splash of dry vermouth (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, gently cracked with the flat side of a knife, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and double-strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the garlic clove from shaker.
Courtesy Jennifer Moyer, co-owner, Hudson Valley Distillers
Hudson Valley Distillers crafts vodka from a fruit that’s been the region’s bounty since colonial times: apples. The vodka features a subtle sweetness from the apples, so Moyer pairs citrus fruits, horseradish and jalapeño with roasted garlic for this sweet-spicy take on a bloody mary.
- 2 cups Hudson Valley Distillers vodka
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- 2–3 cloves roasted garlic
- ¾ tablespoon horseradish, drained
- 1 minced jalapeño
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups tomato juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Muddle lemon, lime, orange, garlic, horseradish, jalapeño and salt in a cocktail shaker. Add vodka, tomato juice and Worcestershire, and stir to combine. Pour into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice and serve.
Courtesy of bar consultants Erich Weiss and Charlotte Voisey
This cocktail, named for Dracula’s nemesis, comes from The Olde Bar, Jose Garces’s new oyster bar/restaurant in Philadelphia, in the location that once housed Old Original Bookbinders, a local seafood institution. Fittingly, Erich Weiss, who was tapped to build the cocktail program with Charlotte Voisey, is the grandson of John M. Taxin, whose family owned the original Bookbinders beginning in the 1940s. This bold, herbaceous cocktail pairs wonderfully with raw seafood.
- 2 ounces bourbon
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- ½ ounce ginger syrup
- ½ ounce Luxardo Amaro Abano
- ¼ ounce white pepper syrup
- ¼ ounce roasted garlic purée
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Lemon peel, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Double-strain into a rocks glass over one large cube. Squeeze the lemon peel over the drink to release its oils, and use as garnish.
Courtesy Christine Dionese, author, Garden Eats blog
Dionese developed this cocktail using garlic scapes and thyme to make a shrub syrup. Shrubs were used during colonial times as a preservative. Garlic scapes are the long stalks that are removed from hardneck garlic plants to redirect the plant’s energy into fattening up the bulbs.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce dry Riesling
- ¼ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2 ounces garlic scape & thyme shrub syrup (recipe below)
- 1 ounce soda water (optional)
- Orange twist for garnish
In a mixing glass filled with ice, add gin and wine, and stir for about 30 seconds. Fill a tall glass with crushed ice, and add lime juice. Add the chilled gin/wine mixture to tall glass. Top with shrub and soda water, if desired. Garnish with an orange twist.
- 2 cups chopped garlic scapes
- 1 cup loosely packed thyme flowers and leaves, no stems
- 2 cups organic Demerara sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
Crush scapes and thyme, and add to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate.
After several hours, the scapes and thyme should be surrounded by juice and syrup. It will appear jam-like.
Strain syrup from solids, pressing lightly to expel juice from the remaining herbs. Scrape the remaining sugar stuck to the bowl into the syrup. This sugar will settle to the bottom of the mixture.
Add vinegar to the syrup. Whisk to combine until sugar is completely dissolved. Funnel into a clean bottle. Cap, shake vigorously and refrigerate.
Check periodically to be sure that the sugar is dissolving by looking at the bottom. If you see sugar, shake. Eventually, the vinegar will take care of the granules.
- 1Black Garlic Mojito
- 2The Benjamin Wayne Smith
- 3Garlicky Citrus Bloody Mary
- 4Van Helsing
- 5Garlic Scape & Gin Summer Sipper