Food & Drink

Why Saline Is the Cocktail Ingredient You Never Knew You Needed

Why Saline Is the Cocktail Ingredient You Never Knew You Needed
Steven Freihon
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You’ve probably enjoyed a margarita with a salted rim, or perhaps a briny Bloody Mary, but have you ever considered actually adding salt water to a cocktail? N.Y.C. hotspot Dante is known for its impressive negroni menu, including the Lavender Negroni, which lists saline as one of its main ingredients.

“I always knew the subtle magic that salt can bring to drinks, but my revelation occurred after encountering Maldon salt; I quickly became enamored by the crystals’ mild flavor profile,” says Naren Young, partner and beverage director of Dante. “When I started grinding Maldon salt in a mortar and pestle to rim margaritas, it provided a more harmonious marriage of flavors within the drink. There’s almost no drink that doesn’t benefit from the addition of saline.” For the Lavender Negroni, “We make a saline solution by dissolving Maldon sea salt in hot water and adding some dried lavender,” explains Young. “It makes the drink less cloying and adds a beautiful savory quality.” Read on below for the full recipe.

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Lavender Negroni

Ingredients

1 oz Citadelle Gin ($32; amitywines.com)
3/4 oz Gran Classico ($32; wineomart.com)
3/4 oz lavender-infused Cocchi Rosa (recipe follows)
2 dashes lavender bitters ($20; kegworks.com)
1 dash of lavender-infused saline solution (recipe follows)
Lavender stalk, for garnish

For the Lavender-infused Cocchi Rosa
Cocchi Rosa ($17; winewisegreenwich.com)
1 bunch fresh lavender

For the Lavender-infused Saline Solution
7 oz boiling water
1 3/4 s oz Maldon salt
1 tbsp dried lavender

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Directions

1. To make the lavender-infused Cocchi Rosa: Combine one bottle of Cocchi Rosa with one bunch of fresh lavender and let sit in a dark, cool place for about two weeks before straining and using.

2. To make the lavender-infused saline solution: Combine boiling water and Maldon in a heatproof container. Stir until salt has dissolved. Infuse lavender for one hour. Strain. Allow to cool and transfer to an eye-dropper or dasher bottle.

3. To assemble the cocktail: Stir and strain all ingredients on fresh ice in an etched rocks class. Garnish with a lavender stalk.

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