With its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties, turmeric has long been a mainstay of Indian cuisine. Now mixologists at restaurants serving Indian, Asian fusion, and flavors from virtually all corners of the world are adding this distinctively hued superfood to cocktails. Here are nine curative turmeric cocktails to boost your immune system this winter.
Himalayan Lassi at Bashi at Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
Chef Bruce Nguyen creates contemporary blends of Asian flavors served against a backdrop of gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. This floral and fruity cocktail that combines Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Domain de Canton, and mango-turmeric lassi in a Collins glass garnished with viola flowers. Make a reservation at Bashi at Terranea Resort.
Gold Medal at Jimmy at the James, New York, New York
Set 18 floors atop the James Hotel, Jimmy at the James offers uncommon views and cocktails with a twist. “We try to do healthier cocktails in a practical way by using housemade fruit purees and natural sugars, such as honey, agave, and organic maple syrup,” says co-owner and mixologist Johnny Swet. “We also try to incorporate healthy options, such as avocado, activated charcoal, ginger, turmeric, and pineapple, to make cocktails that are delicious, gorgeous, and healthier than traditional cocktails!” The Gold Medal (pictured) includes Avua Amburna Cachacha, mango puree, lime juice, and turmeric-infused agave. Make a reservation at Jimmy at the James.
Mr. T at Urban Farmer, Portland, Oregon
Restaurant manager Robbie Wilson got creative for this A-Team-inspired cocktail made with white rum, Combier L’Original, lemon juice, pickled turmeric juice, honey syrup, and a spoon of apricot jam. “I used what would be a wasted ingredient (the turmeric pickle juice) to balance out the other flavors and create a uniquely colorful and tasty treat,” Wilson says. “The stone fruit jam was a cross-use ingredient as the kitchen uses it in our chicken sandwich. This allowed us to not only create a tasty cocktail but also reduce waste in our restaurant.” Make a reservation at Urban Farmer.
First Mate at Cold Storage Seafood, Chicago, Illinois
At Cold Storage Seafood, turmeric-infused Fords gin, demerara, butternut squash juice, lemon juice, and North Shore Aquavit come together in the First Mate. “This drink is warm and earthy, with flavors perfect for the winter months like turmeric and butternut squash, while still being light and refreshing,” explains bartender Marissa Barlow. “The turmeric and Aquavit balance the sweet, creamy taste of the butternut with spicy herbaceous notes.” Make a reservation at Cold Storage Seafood.
The Sunshine at Dirty Habit, San Francisco, California
Combining Spring 44 Gin, turmeric, and ginger cordial, Cocchi Americano, cucumber bitters and dehydrated lemon, bar manager Raul Ayala created the Sunshine for people who enjoy refreshing drinks such as Gimlets, White Ladies, or Gin Mules. Ayala draws inspiration from the diversity and energy of San Francisco. Make a reservation at Dirty Habit.
La Niña at Madison, San Diego, California
Composed of turmeric, St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, and steamed soy milk, La Niña brings spice and warmth to Madison’s cocktail menu. “I wanted to create something to keep everyone warm and toasty,” says bar manager Danny Kuehner. “This drink is creamy and frothy (think latte-like), winter spice, and hot. The turmeric adds a little balance and vibrancy to the drink and gives the cocktail some additional flavor.” Make a reservation at Madison.
Walkabout at Radiator, Washington, D.C.
At this downtown D.C. small plate and cocktail bar, savory delights like Sriracha deviled eggs and bacon fat fries call for equally inventive drinks. For the Walkabout, head bartender Sarah Rosner shakes up Grey Goose vodka, mandarin juice, lemon juice, raw honey, and orange bitters and strains it into a Collins glass with ice. A generous dash of turmeric complements the Walkabout’s citrusy notes. Make a reservation at Radiator.
Anti-Inflammatory at Saffron NOLA, New Orleans, Louisiana
Owner-general manager-bar director Ashwin Vilkhu combined cognac, turmeric-infused coconut milk, honey syrup, chili oil, and a sprig of cilantro to create the Anti-Inflammatory. Vilkhu says the drink was “inspired by the bedtime beverage my mom used to make to help me sleep before bed: warm milk, turmeric, and honey.” Make a reservation at Saffron NOLA.
Hyderabad Tonic at Rooh, San Francisco, California
Fresh turmeric with Beefeater gin and grapefruit tonic play on the six rasas (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) of Ayurveda, an ancient system of Eastern medicine. “The turmeric in Aryuvedic wisdom helps the body absorb other antioxidants, which in turn helps achieve a balance of body, mind, and spirit,” says Jeffrey Philip, Rooh’s general manager-beverage manager. “The flower we place in the cocktail gives a positive psychological state, which helps our well-being. It’s more than just a cocktail, it’s a spiritual state of mind.” Make a reservation at Rooh.
Have you tried turmeric cocktails yet? Let us know where here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Susan Johnston Taylor is an Austin-based freelance writer who’s covered food and business for publications including The Boston Globe, Civil Eats, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fresh Cup, and Pizza Today. Follow her @UrbanMuseWriter.