Turmeric cocktails are the latest in a series of healthy-ish drink crazes capturing the attention of drinkers and bartenders alike. The chrysanthemum-hued spice is famous for its detoxifying and immunity boosting abilities, but turmeric’s curative powers aren’t the only reason for its newfound popularity.
The spice’s herbal qualities can add unique depth and exotic flavor to cocktails — not to mention a nice pop of color! Ryan Santos, chef and owner of Please in Cincinnati, reportedly seeks out turmeric (in addition to other healthful ingredients like kombucha and green tea) to give his cocktails a “herbaceous edge.”
Whether you’re aiming to keep New Year’s resolutions alive with nutritious choices, or you’re curious about the complex flavor profile of this 4,000-year-old spice, you may want to check out some of these exciting and innovative turmeric cocktails from across the country.
The Gold Collar
Winsome, Los Angeles, CA
This vibrant yellow cocktail appropriately referred to as “liquid sunshine” by Winsome’s bar director, Edwin Cruz, starts with El Dorado 5-Year rum and apricot liqueur. Coconut milk and a turmeric ginger horchata are then added, and the drink is finished off with candied ginger and star anise, further enhancing The Gold Collar’s sweet and comforting vibes.
Cape Route Mule
Fort Willow, Chicago, IL
Fort Willow kicks up the spice factor in its riff on the traditional Moscow Mule by flavoring the vodka used in the cocktail with toasted cumin seeds and fresh turmeric. Suze (a french liqueur flavored with gentian root) is also added, along with fresh pressed ginger to enhance the Cape Route Mule’s smoky and herbal characteristics.
Junoon, New York, NY
Junoon’s mixologist Hemant Pathak aims to make use of herbs, teas, and spices from Asia (particularly those used in Indian cuisine), so naturally a turmeric tincture made its way into the restaurant’s drink program. The Punjabi Passion combines Pyrat XO rum, Amaro Nonino, calamansi lime, cilantro sugar, green chili, and turmeric.
The Oxford Comma
Maven, San Francisco, CA
The Oxford Comma mixes tequila, ginger, bonal (a kind of herbal French aperitif), turmeric, and lime to create a cocktail that packs a punch, and is equal parts spicy and herbal.
Kindred, Davidson, NC
Kindred’s crisp, low-ABV cocktail begins with a house-made cordial that includes Aviation gin and a mango turmeric tea. Next, Meyer lemon juice, Cocchi Rosa, and a splash of crémant sparkling wine are added to lend a “spritz vibe” to the drink, according to Kindred’s master mixologist Blake Pope.
The Golden Shrub
The Wild Son, New York, NY
When Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall first opened their health-oriented restaurant The Wild Son, they originally choose to serve non-alcoholic drinks at the bar instead of traditional cocktails. In fact, the mango turmeric shrub featured in The Golden Shrub was originally intended to be a healthful tonic, but Ceraso and Mendenhall enjoyed it so much they decided to add vodka as well. The cocktail combines vodka, Aperol, Cocchi Americano, and The Wild Son’s homemade mango turmeric shrub to create this salubrious (albeit boozy) cocktail.
Please, Cincinnati, OH
At Please, craft cocktails are inspired by the West Coast’s health and juice bar culture, so of course there’s a turmeric cocktail on the menu! The Alisha Budkie is a mix of gin, turmeric, elderflower, lime, and a raw egg. And, if the name of this cocktail seems like an actual person’s name, it’s only because it is. As a show of gratitude, Please has named every cocktail on its menu after its Kickstarter backers.