It’s time to spice up your offering with some flavours which will elevate your dark spirits selection – by Bar Manager at Los Mochis, Paolo Silvestri.
1. The golden era of whisky
Whisky is experiencing a resurgence after years of a stuffy image as a male-preferred and non-engaging spirit. Cocktails are playing an important role in this, where mixing the neat spirit with vermouth and liqueur masks the rich and oaky flavours.
For the aficionados who drink whisky neat, a Whisky Highball is what you are looking for as it keeps the main flavours of your whisky, but adds fizziness. Ginger is the perfect sidekick if you want to also introduce spiciness and sweetness to the serve.
2. Cognac, beyond its smack of luxury and inaccessibility
Even though Cognac hasn’t had a breakout cocktail in the same way as whisky, cocktails like Sidecar, Sazerac and Vieux Carre’ are being rediscovered by the industry and consumers that are getting much more comfortable in experimenting with this luxurious spirit.
Due to its mellow roundness, Cognac mixes well with aromatic bitters, in particular chocolate and cherries, which inspire people to try them out as variations of Manhattan and Old Fashioned cocktails.
It also shares some similar pairings with whisky, such as ginger and cola!
3. Margaritas are great, but there is much more out there
Probably the trendiest spirit of the last 5 years, tequila has been reinvented to step away from its shotting reputation, particularly when it comes to aged tequilas. For those consumers who are not sold on sipping tequila straight, there are plenty of other options: from Margaritas to Palomas, tequila does very well when mixed with grapefruit, orange or tomato juice.
4. Mezcal and its versatility
Known for its smoky notes, mezcal can fill in for tequila with no effort, but can also plug into drinks that involve Scotch or other types of whisky. Some think mezcal should only be consumed neat, but many are evolving beyond that.
Pouring an equal amount of ginger beer and mezcal in a glass to create a spicy, smoky and earthy cocktail while adding apple cider will highlight its crispiness and soothe the smokiness.
5. The Rum Renaissance
Overshadowed by other dark spirits in the past, rum is also going through a renaissance phase thanks to its versatility as well as the rise of Tiki bars.
Whether you are a fan of sweet, tropical libations or prefer enjoying the complexity of this spirit alongside less flavourful mixers, rum offers lots of alternatives to be paired with. Pineapple and coconut are very common options – just think about the classic Piña Colada!
Apple juice is an easy choice due its sweetness, best paired with spiced rum to really enjoy the notes of brown sugar and cinnamon.