Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Salt in cocktails


lancastermike
 Share

Recommended Posts

Was wondering about the use of salt in cocktails. And I mean in something like a martini or manhattan. Everyone knows that he right amount of salt in savory or sweet cooking is a wonderful thing. Too much is horrible.

I know that salt is a tradition with tequila. I don't often have a margarita, but If having one made I always say no salt as I find many bartenders lay it on so thick it really is all I can taste. But I do find just a bit of salt makes the drink better.

And I guess things like bloody Mary's have salt, but that is not what I really mean.

I don't recall seeing this discussed here but I must believe it has been a item of talk and thought for the cocktail experts.

So, what would a bit of salt bring to a martini? Or other drinks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salt helps mask or diminish the perception of bitterness. One of the clearest examples of this effect is The Campari "Martini".

The Campari “Martini”

3 oz Campari

3-5 drops saline solution (roughly 3 parts water to 1 part salt, by weight)

Stir, strain into a chilled coupe, orange twist.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin Liu writes about this in detail in his book. Small amounts of salt work to suppress the other taste sensations of a cocktail--e.g., a pinch of salt can make a very sweet cocktail less sweet, an overly bitter cocktail less bitter, and so on. Tastes can have synergistic effect: sugar will help offset overt tartness, but sugar + salt will be even more effective (as in your example of the Margarita). Saltiness is also the easiest taste to mask, so it's easy to correct for if you go a little overboard. To see some of this applied take a look at Beta Cocktails' post on their Campari "Martini," which, ninja edit, I see KD1191 has already linked above.

Edited by Rafa (log)

DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Somebody recently told me about a fond cocktail memory of a Rum Truffle cocktail that had truffle salt at the bottom of the glass... as you sip your way down the drink, the salt and aromatics would become more and more obvious. Unfortunately, the bar that had made it removed it from the menu and couldn't replicate it for me. But it is an interesting idea.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, what would a bit of salt bring to a martini?

Lots. It's precisely why the modern martini is so wonderful when garnished with a green olive. The olive is soaked in salty brine, and when added to a mixture of spicy gin and a modest amount of spicy dry vermouth, it helps to round out the flavors just as salt does in cooking. Too much salty brine and you'll ruin the drink, but the olive(s) should be wet enough to impart at least some salty flavor to the drink.

When making vintage martinis on the other hand, with lots of dry vermouth and orange bitters, in my opinion the salty brine wrecks the drink. I stick with an orange twist on the rare occasions I make them. The salt may be clashing with the wine in the vermouth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At Marvel we've been salting our invert syrup for a while now. 1 Tbsp kosher salt to 6 quarts granulated sugar and 3 quarts water.

We use this syrup in sours, and we've yet to find a drink that does not "pop" more with the use of the syrup. The salinity is subperceptible but makes a huge difference. We were initially leery of such a change to our program, but blind tests overwhelmingly showed the superiority of salted syrup. It's an easy way to add another flavor frequency to a drink, an extra element of complexity.

(For Old-Fashioneds and other such drinks we use unsalted demerara. On the other hand, those can also be delicious with salt, as noted above, and we also do some bitter-brown-stirred drinks with salt added as well.)

Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just started adding drops of a 5:1 salt solution to my drinks. I add 3-5 drops and have found it rounds things out, without any salty taste. I've not yet pushed the limit to see how far is too far in my favorite drinks, but I have found I can go pretty heavy with sours and only improve the taste.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried salting a Bitter Giuseppe a few days ago. Turned out really well. It pretty much just did what it was supposed to- muting all the basic taste sensations (especially the bitter aftertaste of the Cynar) while allowing the aromatic elements to shine through more- but I was really impressed by how much better the end result was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

A visit to a craft cocktail bar last night reminded me of this thread. I find something unpleasant about drinking a salty drink. When salt is used to emphasise some other property of the drink? Okay. But too much, when the drink actually tastes of salt? Especially when the drink has been diluted to hell (removing any sharp edges)? Especially when it's some kind of flavoured salt? Disgusting. 

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...