Just when you thought you'd seen it all in the cocktail world—the neo-medicinal herbs, the precious homemade bitters, the fetishistic ice fanaticism—bartenders have once again found a new toy to play with, and it's got a quasi-health angle too. The new trend in craft cocktails plays up an ingredient that delivers all the benefits of probiotics, low fat protein, and calcium while adding a velvety mouth-feel. Say hello to your old friend . . .yogurt. Bartenders from all over the country are blending fermented milk with gin, whiskey, rum, flavored syrups, fresh fruits, herbs, and spices for an indulgence you can actually feel good about.
Here are 10 creamy new drinks developed by yogurt-lovin' boozers.
1. The Pink Warhead
Where to drink it: The Radisson Blu Aqua's Blu Bar, Chicago
Ingredients: Few Rye whiskey, house-made sour cherry syrup, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, plain yogurt.
Patrons at this hotel bar can watch mixologist Ergys Dizdari serve up theatrical cocktails, like the Pink Warhead, which he concocted in July as a take on the classic whiskey sour. Because whiskey sours can be either too sweet or too tart, Dizdari adds yogurt to balance the flavors while giving it a frothy, creamy body when combined with the egg white.
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2. Cupid's Arrow
Where to drink it: The Laundry Room, Las Vegas
Ingredients: Pyrat rum, Altar Aphrodisiac (peaches, nectarines, cassia cinnamon, vanilla bean, red rooibos tea, rhubarb, almond and a handful of other ingredients), vanilla yogurt, spiced honey syrup, half a plum, four black cherries, a sprig of rosemary.
The Laundry Room is a vintage speakeasy (you'll need to text a special number to get in) where Juyoung Kang created the Cupid's Arrow after reading an article about fermentation and healthy bacteria. The vanilla yogurt adds a layer of complexity that tames the fruity, sweet flavor and gives it a silkier finish with a velvety mouthfeel. For an extra kick, Kang recommends adding some whiskey to complement the notes of vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon.
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3. Curry Up
Where to drink it: Bar Crudo, Phoenix
Ingredients: Tanqueray Malacca gin, pineapple chunks, house-made curry syrup, key lime Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, curry powder (for rim).
Owner-mixologist Micah Olson—who focuses on food-friendly, garden-to-glass cocktails—has been working on this creamy creation for over a year. The yogurt contrasts the fruity and spicy notes, creating depth and texture. The yogurt also helps to bind the ingredients and cool off some of the curry heat.
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4. Petale a la Ferme
Where to drink it: The Wellington Steak & Martini Lounge, San Diego
Ingredients: Hendrick's gin, cucumber rings, fennel frond, Greek yogurt, honey water (50/50 honey dissolved into water).
Bartender Frankie Thaheld loves experimental cocktails as much as the classics—he's even got a section of the drinks menu dedicated to "Twists." So it was no surprise to see this drink, the Petale a la Ferme, unveiled in early September. It has five main parts: gin (the base), honey-water (to sweeten and dilute), cucumber rings (to cool the palate), fennel (to impart floral notes) and Greek yogurt (for creaminess).
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5. Mighty Aphrodite
Where to drink it: Emerald Lounge, Boston
Ingredients: Bacardi Pineapple, Greek yogurt, guava puree, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, fresh pineapple garnish.
At this trendy nightclub meets farm-to-fork dining, Emerald Lounge offers upscale finger-food, tapas, and craft cocktails, including the yogurt-enhanced Mighty Aphrodite. Inspired by the Greek goddess who was said to have been created out of sea foam, bar manager Teodora Bakardzhieva pays homage to her beauty and sweetness in this frothy, fruity concoction. Emerald Lounge also serves two other yogurt cocktails, including Zeus' Peace-Maker (Bully Boy rum, honey syrup, Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, and mint leaves) and a Santorini (Ouzo, Greek yogurt, fresh dill, and cucumber).
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6. Heirloom Tomato and Frozen Goat Yogurt Float
Where to drink it: Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, North Carolina
Ingredients: Topo Piedmont gin, an heirloom tomato, fresh strawberries, garden basil, caraway seed, rhubarb bitters, lemon juice, and frozen goat's milk yogurt.
The Heirloom Tomato and Frozen Goat Yogurt Float, which was introduced this summer, is farm-to-glass at its finest, with ingredients all locally sourced from North Carolina. The yogurt is particularly interesting, as it not only counterbalances the sweetness of the strawberries and earthiness of the tomato and basil, but also adds an interactive element as guests are invited to drop the yogurt into the cocktail and relive the thrill of making a float as a kid.
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7. Cradle of Life
Where to drink it: The Brooklynite, San Antonio, Texas
Ingredients: Gin, lemon, honey syrup, Greek yogurt, mint.
Created in the spring of 2013, Cradle of Life is a drink inspired by the Persian cocktail, Doogh, a carbonated concoction made with yogurt with mint. Bar owner Jeret Peña specializes in creating cocktails that aren't just about flavor and aromatics, but play with texture as well. While the Cradle of Life's botanical gin accentuates the mint, the lemon offers a pleasant pairing with the yogurt, which adds body, texture, and a saltiness lacking in most drinks.
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8. Beezer's Revenge
Ingredients: Bourbon, low fat yogurt, banana, peanut butter, sweetened dark cocoa powder, a double shot of espresso, cinnamon, mint.
Bryan Ranere, the director of Laszlo's cocktail lounge (and cinema), enjoys the tartness yogurt brings to a cocktail, especially in the Beezer's Revenge, where it enhances the bite of the espresso and chocolate flavors. Although the name of the cocktail sounds like it could be a Burt Reynold's film, it's actually a moniker for Ranere, who was called Beezer when he got into trouble growing up. He plays up the reviving capabilities of the drink—the caffeine makes it ideal for hangovers.
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9. Fountain of Eden
Where to drink it: Jackson 20, Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
Ingredients: Double Cross vodka, clarified Greek yogurt, fresh lemon, ginger, and mint.
Jackson 20 is a colonial era tavern with a farm-to-table menu inspired by the way people ate long before it became a trend. This goes for their drink menu, too, which features fresh herbs and produce from the chef's garden (including a hazelnut tree and a lemon verbena plant blessed at a Northern Virginia Thai temple). The drink, which earned mixologist Dean Feddaoui a trip to the annual Tales of the Cocktail competition in New Orleans, makes use of clarified Greek yogurt, which complements the creamy Double Cross vodka and is a natural pairing with lemon and ginger.
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10. Iced Dog
Where to drink it: Barbounia, New York City
Ingredients: Bulldog gin, hibiscus simply syrup, low fat yogurt, fresh blueberries, mint for garnish.
Mixologist Vladimir Kolotyan of the Mediterranean-themed Barbounia says the yogurt adds a pleasantly creamy texture and taste, along with a balance of natural lactic acidity. Plus, the two-in-one cocktail—booze and dessert blended together—saves you calories and money.
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