Published on November 16, 2023.
The FINAL part of our tastbud series!
Spices, derived from various plant parts like seeds, fruits, roots, and bark, are loaded with complex aromatic compounds that stimulate our taste buds in unique ways. When these compounds come into contact with our taste receptors, they trigger responses that can range from fiery heat to multifaceted layers of flavor. Many spices, like chili peppers, contain compounds such as capsaicin that activate heat receptors in the mouth. This creates a sensation of warmth and can even induce a pleasant, endorphin-releasing spiciness. Spices like cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom contribute to the complexity of flavor. They offer sweet, earthy, or woody notes that can transform a cocktail from mundane to extraordinary. Spices like star anise, coriander, and nutmeg release captivating aromas when crushed or infused, elevating the olfactory experience of a drink.
Bars and restaurants leverage the rich palette of spices to craft unique and memorable cocktails. Bartenders often infuse spirits with spices, allowing their flavors to permeate the alcohol. For example, a cinnamon-infused bourbon can add depth to an Old Fashioned. Bitters are botanical extracts infused with spices, herbs, and roots. A few dashes of aromatic bitters like Angostura or Peychaud’s can transform a cocktail, balancing its sweetness and adding layers of complexity. Syrups infused with spices like ginger, cardamom, or cloves are used to sweeten and spice up cocktails. They are the secret behind many signature drinks. A well-placed spice garnish, such as a cinnamon stick or star anise pod, not only adds aroma but also provides a visual cue about the drink’s flavors. Similar to salt rims on margaritas, some cocktails feature spice rims. For instance, a chili-salt rim on a margarita glass or a cinnamon-sugar rim on a spiced apple cider cocktail can elevate the entire drinking experience.
Why not try a spicy alternative on your menu?
Hot and Spicy Margarita: This cocktail combines the heat of chili peppers with the tartness of lime, creating a harmonious balance of flavors and sensations.
Mulled Wine: A winter favorite, mulled wine incorporates spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise to warm the palate and comfort the senses.
Chai Martini: A fusion of the classic martini and spiced chai tea, this cocktail marries gin or vodka with chai-infused syrup and aromatic spices.
Share this article
About the author
Chloe looks after all copywriting and proof-reading for Drink Warehouse UK, working with the Marketing team to deliver educational content to all our customers. She has spent many years in the hospitality sector, moving from behind the bar to now helping venues to stock their own. You can find more from Chloe about beer, cider, spirits, wine, non-alcoholic, soft drinks and RTDs all over our blogs, website, social media and Set The Bar magazine.