Are you a shaken-not-stirred kinda drinker? Well cocktail boundaries are being pushed like never before, so a solitary olive just won’t cut it.

According to Ben Curtis of Prize Fight Whiskey, some of the weirdest cocktail creations are starting to use ingredients like turf, cheese, pesto, fat wash, squid ink and popcorn.

And the weird and wonderful world of molecular mixology plays with shape, texture and smell…so the very foundations of a cocktail are being shaken. If you’re up for a bit of adventure, wrap your tastebuds round these:

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves – for stews right? Nope, the bay leaf is used as a back-note to accompany a base spirit in a cocktail or to enhance the modifier, according to Ben Curtis of Prize Fight Whiskey. It’s also used to accentuate a specific botanical component of the spirit – make sure you whip that line out the next time you’re in a bar.

Cocktail Suggestion: The Nobel Prizefighter

Charcoal

Bay leaves too basic for you? What about charcoal? The biggest trend to sweep the beauty industry in 2016, activated charcoal has now made its way to cocktails. Although it doesn’t actually cure hangovers, according to the BarSchool, it can nominally reduce the amount of toxins in the body. Plus, it looks cool.

Cocktail Suggestion: The Heart of Darkness

Birch Sap

Tree-hugging has gone next level. You can now extract xylitol, fructose & glucose from birch trees and boil it into a sugar syrup. It tastes smokey and pairs beautifully with whiskey.

Cocktail Suggestion: Wild Whiskey Sour (recipe from Galloway Foods)

Ingredients

  • 50ml whisky. Scotch, Irish, bourbon or Rye all work
  • 25ml sea buckthorn juice
  • 25ml Birch sap syrup
  • 3 dash of bitters (angostura are good)
  • 1 egg white (optional – this makes for a thicker, mellower cocktail with a creamy head and a smoother mouth-feel)

Preparation

Add all ingredients except the ice to a cocktail shaker and shake well for 60 seconds. This is called a “dry shake” and allows the egg white proteins to coagulate without dilution. Next add ice to the shaker and shake for up to 20 seconds until the drink is chilled to your liking. Strain into a glass of your choosing. Garnish with hogweed seeds.

Candied Bacon

The Butchers Grill offers a Smokey Old Fashioned using Woodford Reserve Bourbon, pecan bitters, fresh oak smoke and…candied bacon. Not to be confused with your Sunday fry-up.

Cocktail Suggestion: Smokey Old Fashioned (of course)

Burnt Woodchips

Thunder Cut Alley does a brandy cocktail that is served with the smoke of burnt wood chips enclosed in the glass. A (whiffy) visual spectacle for the table.

Cocktail Suggestion: The Ginger Sparkler

Deconstructed Raspberry Mule

This is where things get serious.Claire Smith, Global Brand Ambassador for Belvedere Vodka has come up with a science-take on the Raspberry Mule, which may or may not involve a fork…

Ingredients

  • One piece candied ginger
  • One shot glass clear lime jelly
  • 8 to 10 flambéed raspberries
  • 2 ounces Belvedere Cytrus vodka
  • Angostura bitters

Preparation

Put flambéed raspberries with Angostura in the base of a Boston cocktail shaker. Shake with Belvedere Cytrus and cubed ice. Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass. Serve lime jelly and candied ginger on a plate with the cocktail.

To flambé raspberries: Put them in a Boston glass and spray Angostura on them. As you spray, hold a lighter or match right up to the glass. The Angostura catches on fire, but goes out very quickly.

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