With ingredients like activated charcoal and squid ink, you can not only wow your guests with dramatic cocktails, but also tasty ones.
If you were to think of cocktails, you are spoilt for choice for the options. There is the minty fresh Mojito and the bright pink Cosmo waiting for you to chug. Black for a cocktail, however, was never experimented with. But that was until now. Bartenders aren’t afraid of experimenting with new ingredients now, and the effect of this is black cocktails. And these inky-black cocktails are finally finding their space on the menu.
The trend for black cocktails made a comeback in early 2016. Ingredients like activated charcoal, black sesame seeds — diners are seeing these cocktails on occasion other than Halloween. These ingredients add a dramatic colour, and a spooky effect to your cocktails, making them taste different, while making show-stopping additions to cocktail menus. These cocktails range in hue from shadowy, hazy gray to deep, dark indigo to jet black, depending on which ingredients chosen and the proportion that’s added.
If you are in the mood to throw a party or want to try an innovative cocktail, this should be your go-to. These cocktails may not seem appealing but will surely be a show stopper in your cocktail menu. For those worried if these cocktails may leave a bad taste in the mouth, worry not.
What helps is that the activated charcoal or carbon — if used sparingly — does not alter the flavour of the drink. Activated charcoal is odourless, hence imparts only colour. There may be a slight taste of minerals, but this addition only enhances the cocktail by making it complex. The good news is that there are a host of spirits that work well with black cocktails. The black cocktails work well with various spirits and alcohol like vodka, tequila, rum, and kahlua.
An easy recipe is the Black Velvet. Take 30 ml black vodka, 30 ml kahlua and 5 ml lime juice. Strain these ingredients in a cocktail glass and serve with a dash of gomme syrup. If you feel a little adventurous, garnish with Coffee Bite chocolate. Another option is the Drunken Espresso Shot — 15 ml white rum, 15 ml black espresso and 15 ml coffee liqueur. Pour espresso in a host glass, later with coffee liqueur. Top with chilled white rum and serve. These cocktails can be paired with anything and everything — mild or spicy food, even vegetarian or non-vegetarian meals.
There are no rules for these cocktails. All one needs to do is try variations and different combinations to make innovative black cocktails. Apart from this, it is necessary to understand that each ingredient blends well with other ingredient. Squid ink, for example, imparts a salty, briny flavour. To complement that one can pair it with mezcal. Always remember: it is essential to consume the cocktail within 30 minutes of making it. Cheers!
Sonali Mullick is the regional manager for Henpecked, Mumbai