Aloe isn’t just for sunburns and house plants. Beyond its topical and decorative uses, aloe can also be consumed when prepared properly. And these days, you can find it adding a twist to cocktails.
Straight aloe can be bitter and difficult to work with, says Chicago bartender Angela Lovell. But in liqueur form, it shows delicate and round flavors of melon, cucumber and citrus. To make the Annie Oakley cocktail, she uses Chareau. The all-natural California liqueur is distilled with farm-fresh ingredients, including aloe, cucumber, spearmint, lemon peel and muskmelon, and it’s the easiest way to get aloe into your drinks.
Lovell pairs the Chareau with dry sake and a hibiscus-thyme shrub, a non-alcoholic ingredient made from vinegar, sugar and fruit or herbs. The sake complements the aloe liqueur with refreshing fruit flavors while keeping the ABV manageable, and the shrub provides tart acidity, herbal notes and the drink’s deep-red color.
“While we went for the full herbal, floral explosion with this cocktail, the liqueur shows really beautifully with simple and subtle combinations like a touch of gin or vodka and a dash of interesting bitters, like orange or grapefruit,” says Lovell. That’s your cue to experiment with other spirits and flavors when mixing your next aloe-accented drink.
1 ounce Ozeki dry sake
3/4 ounce Chareau aloe liqueur
2 ounces hibiscus-thyme shrub*
Garnish: thyme sprig
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with a thyme sprig.
*Hibiscus-thyme shrub: Combine 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup white wine vinegar in a saucepan, and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers, mix well, and add 24 thyme sprigs. Remove from the heat and let cool, then chill overnight. Strain out solids, then transfer the syrup to glass syrup bottles.