Mixologists are always adding ever-more-exotic ingredients to their bar pantries, but sometimes it’s the most common component that can make the biggest impact — even when it’s not commonly found in every cocktail. The perfect example is salt, which can bring balance or incorporate a sharp bite to a cocktail. From rims of every color and syrups to foam and stock, salt is showing up in surprising ways. These eight salty cocktails feature sodium in a variety of creative manners.
Funky Chicken at Arbella, Chicago, Illinois
This cocktail is a quadruple threat as it boasts sweet, salty, spicy, and sour notes. The drink is made with rye, lemon puree, and beer, but it’s the rim that brings it all together. That’s because it’s dusted with Mexican Tajin seasoning, a lip puckering, tongue tingling mixture of chilies, lime juice, and sea salt. Make a reservation at Arbella.
Jumping Cholla at Madison, San Diego, California
Bar manager Danny Kuehner aims to evoke the flavors of a barbecue with the summery sipper. Its Mexican-minded ingredient list includes with mezcal, pineapple juice, lime juice, and fresh jalapeño. A cloud of egg whites dusted with black lava salt floats on top, giving the cocktail a creamy texture. Make a reservation at Madison.
Shicigosan at Tanuki, Miami Beach, Florida
Salted banana puree is the backbone of this trendsetting tipple. It’s complemented with fat-washed butter popcorn Brugal Anejo rum, chrysanthemum tea, Shochu, and freshly squeezed lime juice (we bet you’ve never had that flavor combination before). The garnish game is on point, featuring an edible flower, popcorn, and a bamboo leaf. Make a reservation at Tanuki.
Ponche de Champagne at Boleo, Chicago, Illinois
We’re totally down with any cocktail served in a repurposed fox-shaped cookie jar with bendy straws. Salt-roasted plantain syrup balances out this punch featuring notes of banana, passion fruit, star anise, and cinnamon. A bottle-strong Champagne float brings a bounty of bubbles to the party. Make a reservation at Boleo.
Cucumber Mint at Grayson Social, Dallas, Texas
This cocktail reminds us of a drunken pickle. Fortified with blanco tequila and chartreuse, it gets a fresh edge from mint syrup, cucumber, and fresh lime juice. A shake of salt adds a touch of salinity and depth. Make a reservation at Grayson Social.