These days, you’re just as likely to see jars of jams, jellies, and marmalades behind bars, as you are to see bottles of bourbon, vodka, and gin. Bartenders like using preserves because they add nuanced sweetness along with a touch of tang or an acidic accent. Here are five jam cocktails ideal for the spring season.
Arbella, Chicago, Illinois
Growing up, mom never made us a PB&J like this one. It features peanut butter-infused vodka sweetened with Concord grape jelly and juice, and it is served over a cube of jelly- infused ice. To complete the throwback vibe, the purple potable arrives in an old school jelly jar. Now that we’re all growed up, maybe we can convince Mom to make these at the next family get together. Make a reservation at Arbella.
Americano, Dallas, Texas
We love the phrase “breakfast cocktail.” It sounds so much more sophisticated than”‘hair of the dog.”( Who came up with that expression anyway?) This Bergamont Breakfast Cocktail features Earl Grey-infused gin, a touch of lemon, and orange marmalade to add sweet-tangy-rind-y notes. Make a reservation at Americano.
Fish by José Andrés-MGM, National Harbor, Maryland
Talk about a study in contrasts. If you’re ever looking for a distraction, go on YouTube and search ‘tractor pull.’ These NASCAR-for-farmers competitions feature beefed up, hot rodding tractors hauling giant sleds down a dirt track. Really. On the other hand, the Tractor Pull cocktail features orange marmalade for a hit of acidic sweetness, along with elderflower vinegar, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, and Buffalo Trace bourbon. Make a reservation at Fish by José Andrés-MGM.
Highball & Harvest, Orlando, Florida
We love to slather blueberry jam on a tall stack of flapjacks, which we then douse with plenty of maple syrup. The summery preserves add a touch of tartness to offset the sweetness, which is why they also work well in this Doc Holiday cocktail, which is powered by vodka and housemade ginger beer. Make a reservation at Highball & Harvest.
Garden Bistro at Airlie Center, Warrenton, Virginia
This Caribbean style punch begins with a taste of the countryside – a spoon full of raspberry jam. Then light rum, dark rum, and pineapple juice are shaken together and added into the mix. Simple, but oh so satisfying. Make a reservation at the Garden Bistro at Airlie Center.
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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credit: Rey Lopez (Fish).