Used frequently in Asian and Southeast Asian cooking, turmeric is an earthy and bitter spice with a gently spicy flavor, and is best known for adding a vibrant orange-yellow hue to dishes. It has long been considered to have health benefits, with its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and drinkers have caught on to all that turmeric can impart. To be sure, drinking alcohol is inherently not the healthiest thing, but perhaps using turmeric as an ingredient adds a little balance. If nothing else, it lends a definite visual appeal to the drinks that include it.
These 10 cocktails show how to best incorporate turmeric into your drinks.
Bartender Matt Ragan, who created the drink while working at Victor Tangos, the former Dallas hot spot, wanted to offer his guests a turmeric-infused vodka drink that could give them a healthy kick alongside their brunch buzz. In this drink, he combined turmeric-infused vodka with lemon and carrot juices, honey and Angostura bitters; a celery stick garnish lets you nibble on vegetables while you drink them, too.
This cocktail from New Orleans Indian restaurant Saffron NOLA was inspired by a bedtime elixir of warm milk, honey and turmeric, and it also riffs off of the classic New Orleans cocktail the Brandy Milk Punch. It combines cognac with turmeric-infused coconut milk and honey syrup over crushed ice, garnished with a cilantro sprig and drops of chili oil.
A Boy Named Sue
Turmeric serves to lighten the richness of this drink that mixes two types of scotch with lemon juice, heavy cream, an egg white and turmeric simple syrup, all topped with soda water. If it makes you think of a Ramos Gin Fizz with spice and smoke, you're not wrong.
Turmeric tea is the secret ingredient in this bright and fresh blend of tequila, grapefruit juice and cinnamon simple syrup topped with soda water and garnished with a grapefruit twist. Its earthiness grounds the flavors and perfectly complements the cinnamon's spice.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
In this low-ABV drink from Decca in Louisville, Kentucky, a base of ginger liqueur is accented by pisco, lemon juice and turmeric simple syrup, then given a crisp finish with a splash of prosecco.
Yael Vengroff, the beverage director of Spare Room in Los Angeles, created this spin on a Pina Colada that replaces the usual cream of coconut with passion fruit juice and heavy cream, and adds cinnamon syrup and turmeric oil. A garnish of pineapple fronds and shredded coconut gives extra flair.
Turmeric powder is an essential ingredient in the heavily spiced curry nectar that lends this drink an Indian-cuisine-inspired punch. The nectar's intense flavors are joined in the drink by London dry gin and lime and pineapple juices for brightness.
Valley of the Dark Lords
Lifting a page from the Blood & Sand's playbook, this cocktail mixes mezcal and chile liqueur with Cherry Heering and orange juice, plus a pinch of turmeric powder and a barspoon of chia seeds for a curious texture.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
Federal Ave. Swizzle
Gin and sake form the base of this cocktail's light and fresh flavors. They're joined by freshly squeezed lime and turmeric juices, coconut water and a spiced syrup that brings together a number of complex and complementary flavors.
Irish whiskey and bourbon join forces with Calvados and Benedictine, their flavors bridged by cane syrup and turmeric bitters, in this elegant cocktail from Natasha David, the former co-owner of NYC's late Nitecap.