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Feb 22, 2008 08:42 AM

Spicy, Salty or Otherwise Savory Drinks.

If, after dinner, I had to choose between dessert or something like a handful of very good kettle chips, I would go with the chips Every Time. I'm just not much of a sugar person. Correspondingly, I love drinks that fit this description. I recently had a great "filthy" martini made with Absolut Peppar. Bloody Mary's in all forms are okay in my book. I also like a good, non-sweet Salty Dog made with real (white) grapefruit juice. There was a great article in the nytimes styles section about a "Belvedere Bloody Mary," combining all the flavors but none of the stomach-filling thickness of a Bloody Mary.

Suggestions for other drinks that fall into these category? I'd appreciate any recommendations for spirits, and/or drink recipes.

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  1. Cleanyerplate, I am so with you. I always tell the story of me and the chocolate/chips dilemma and the chips get my vote every time.
    A few thinks come to mind quickly:
    - for variety, try a Bloody Mary with Gin for a change. The citrus and juniper add a nice zingy freshness to the whole cocktail.
    - if bitter is close enough, try a negroni—usually served as an apéritif before dinner, equal parts gin, Campari & sweet vermouth. Want to skip the sweet anything? Imbibe Magazine (disclaimer: my employer) turned me onto the Milano-Torino after a story on Milan:, just Campari and Punt e Mes (Italian dry red vermouth). Yum.
    - Sipping tequila (Corzo Reposado, Partida) though they may be on the sweet side for you, whisky or a good rye (try Van Winkle 13 Year or Sazerac to start) can't be beat.
    - My favorite summertime drink with fresh tomatoes is another drink from the mag, provided by Jeff Hollinger, author of Art of the Bar is the Drinko de Gallo with tomatoes, tequila and cilantro:
    - I recently started experimenting with blended-salt rims on my cocktails, combining bacon salt (bought online) with tomato and or celery-like flavors for that BLT feeling. I also just blended some rosemary salt that I think could be a really nice match for savory drinks. Will keep you posted....

    Finally, the Cocktail DB's Mixilator allows you to search by flavor style and "veggie/meaty" is one of the options:

    Sounds like the best dessert to me! Good luck!

    1. This is from Flora restaurant in Oakland, CA, with permission:

      Carter Beats the Devil (a Flora original)

      2 oz El Tesoro Reposado Tequila
      1 oz. fresh lime juice
      1/2 oz. organic agave nectar
      1/4 oz. del Maguey Minero Mescal
      20 drops (eye dropper) of chili tincture*
      *To make chili tincture, cover Thai chilis with overproof rum for two weeks, strain.

      Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake well and pour, straining out the ice.

      5 Replies
      1. re: foodeye

        Right next door in Berkeley, T-Rex restaurant serves something they call "(One Night in) Bankok". It is, hands down, the worst-tasting beverage I've ever purchased at a bar. However, the bartender swears it has fans. I'm not sure of the recipe, but the description from the menu on the website is pretty precise:
        Bombay gin, muddled lemon, basil and
        jalapeno topped with bitter lemon quinine

        1. re: uh ... art

          I don't know what this drink is called or the correct proportions but my borther's Mexican friend told him about it. It clam juice, mexican beer, tabasco sauce, squeeze of lime, and pepper in a salt rimmed glass. Anybody know what that's called?

          We tried making it at home and we happen to have Sam Adams on hand. Brother said it didn't come out right. All you could taste was a salty Sam.

          1. re: heypielady

            That is a type of Michelada. Was it on ice, too? A good hot weather drink. There are no "correct" proportions, it is just "to taste."

            Wiki has a comprehensive entry:

            1. re: foodeye

              Yes! That's it! Michelada. Thank you.

              1. re: heypielady

                I'm not sure if it is with sadness or joy that I report that Anheiser busch has just brought out 2 Micheladas, one made with Bud light and one with Bud heavy. They aren't bad, but they're not the same as a real one. another drink altogether different, that would satisfy the OP's request is one that I invented, but which is a little bit of work and only seasonal; the Goldeneye. The first step is to make tomato water. take about 6 lbs. of very ripe toatoes and chop them very coarsely(into about 16 pieces or so. take a large square of cheesecloth and tie the tomatoes in a bundle in the cloth and suspend over a large bowl for about 12-18 hours. the tomato water will collect in the bowl and will be a lovely golden color. You can very gently squeeze a little more water out of the bundle, but be careful you don't get any solids or red color.( the remaining tomato mass can be used to make a nice marinara sauce) chill the tomato water and to make the actual cocktail, take 2 jiggers of good dry gin and an equal amount of tomato water. add a few drops of fresh lime juice and a dash of good bitters. stir with ice til very cold and serve up. I like a pickled grape tomato as a garnish, or failing that, a caper berry. I would also second the Negroni suggestion and add a Pimm's Cup as an alternative the tomato water can also be served cold with a garnish of chiffonaded basil leaves as an appetizer soup course.

      2. My husband makes dirty martinis and Bloody Marys with Hanger One Chipotle vodka. Smells like a forest fire. He also adds smoked salt to the glass in regular martinis and Marys.

        1. Our friends had an old bartender's guide and I remember there were a number of drinks that included beef broth as an ingredient. "Bloody Bull" and "Bull Shot" are a couple.

          Egg nogs are also not very sweet if you make them from scratch (may not be the not-sweet you are looking for though).

          1. 1) Basil & Mary. (seasonal drink)

            Muddle fresh in-season 1/2 tomato with fresh basil until pulped.
            Put in shaker with Gin, fresh lemon juice (1/4 lemon), and 1 tablesppon grand marnier.
            Shake and strain over ice, garnish with black pepper and a sprig of fresh basil.

            2) Habanero Margarita.

            Buy some Habanero puree or substitute a relatively pure hot sauce using smoked habeneros. You may also begin with using a chipotle puree or chipotle hot sauce if you are worried about the the heat factor.

            Make a margarita, but add a few drops of the puree before you shake. Taste. Add a few more drops. Taste. Rinse and repeat until you get the level of spiciness you can a) taste and b) handle. Have fun.