From the onset of civilization, populations around the globe have come up with unique fermentation and distillation processes, producing a wide array of spirits, beer, wine, and liqueurs.
The concept of mixing spirits with other flavors and beverages dates to the turn of the 18th century. Over the past few centuries, cocktail-making has become a respected art.
While you may associate cocktails with sweet, sour, or bitter mixed drinks, savory cocktails are quickly becoming fashionable. Read on to discover a long list of delicious savory drinks to try at home.
Another savory twist on a Mexican favorite, Salsa Sunset is a savory margarita that combines spicy chili peppers and cilantro with Anejo tequila. You create your own fresh-pressed bell pepper juice to muddle with cilantro and lime juice, creating a liquefied salsa base for tequila.
This recipe makes one margarita, but the juice yields enough servings to make a round for your next Taco Tuesday.
The most famous savory cocktail of all is the Bloody Mary, a tomato and tabasco sauce-based vodka cocktail with a salad bar’s worth of garnishes. The Bloody Derby swaps vodka for whiskey in the classic Bloody Mary combination of hot sauces, tomato juice, seasonings, and horseradish.
This recipe uses smokey bourbon, adding even more depth of flavor.
Pineapple may sound like the sweetest mixer of all, but this Pineapple Heart Cocktail uses it as a complement for a celeriac infusion, consisting of celery root-infused gin or vodka. I recommend gin for a botanical savory flavor.
The celeriac infusion is so overpowering, that this cocktail requires pineapple juice, honey, and lime juice to balance the flavors.
There’s no flavor more savory than bacon, which happens to be the star of the show in this smoky whiskey mule cocktail. Cajun chili powder and brown sugar offer a sweet and spicy coating to candy bacon which you add to Jack Daniels, creating a candied-bacon-flavored whisky.
This bacon-flavored cocktail makes two servings, each with a whole strip of candied bacon for garnish.
Not only does this carnivorous cocktail call for bacon-infused bourbon, but it also uses bone broth as a mixer. It’s a simple three-ingredient cocktail that combines bacon-flavored bourbon with Amaro and walnut bitters. The final touch is a stirring in a few bone broth ice cubes that infuse a rich, meaty finish.
True to its name, this magic mushroom cocktail has both mushrooms and hallucinogenic absinthe. It is a vodka cocktail that combines aromatic amaro and dill tincture with earthy truffle oil and botanical absinthe.
This cocktail makes one serving, and while one might not make you hallucinate, the magic still occurs for your tastebuds.
This highly alcoholic beverage from Grey Goose Vodka mixes vodka and mezcal with lime juice and simple syrup in a lowball glass. Grey Goose is one of the smoothest vodkas, camouflaging with simple syrup and lime.
It’s essentially a mezcal margarita with extra alcohol. This is a good cocktail to gradually introduce skeptics to savory cocktails.
One of the most savory flavors on the spectrum is umami, a flavor founded and developed in Japanese cuisine. Miso paste is the height of umami flavor, adding a unique meatiness to broths, sauces, dressings, and now, cocktails.
This Miso Old Fashioned requires you to make miso butter and tahini-infused cognac to mix with Angostura bitters.
This gin-spiked green tea cocktail is on the earthy side of savory. It makes a pitcher’s worth of Gimlets, infusing gin with two green tea bags. The earthy green tea pairs perfectly with the flowery notes inherent in gin.
After you’ve seeped the tea bags for a few hours, the cocktail gets a sweet and citrusy boost from lime juice and citrus syrup.
Not to be confused with the dry gin brand, The Botanist cocktail is a tequila cocktail served inside a hollowed-out red bell pepper. The rest of the recipe involves throwing veggies and cilantro into a shaker to muddle with lime juice before adding the tequila and shaking it all up.
Another twist on the classic Bloody Mary, this cocktail is essentially a bloody Mary with beef broth. The beef adds a savory heft to the cocktail that tastes wonderful with the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce.
I would trade a simple lemon wedge garnish for a skewer of beef jerky, celery, and pearl onions.
Fennel Rickey is a fennel-flavored cocktail consisting of scratch-made fennel syrup, lemon juice, and Cappelletti. Cappelletti is a wine-based bitter liqueur from Italy. If you can’t find it, Campari is a worthy substitute.
Fennel is an aromatic flavor with a licorice flavor that’s often used in Italian savory dishes, most notably sausage. It works well with the bitter, earthy Cappalletti in this easy-to-make single-serving cocktail.
Beet juice is an exceedingly sweet vegetable juice, but this beet gin cocktail has a unique ingredient that adds a savory punch. This sophisticated, botanical cocktail infuses gin with beet juice to combine with the Italian bitter known as cynar which has an unmistakable artichoke flavor.
You’ll feel like you’re at a juice bar with each sip of this vegetable-forward cocktail.
Negronis are usually gin cocktails, but this Savory mezcal negroni swaps botanical for smokey. As a classic cocktail, this three-ingredient Negroni is the easiest drink to make while still offering a sophisticated and complex flavor profile.
Mezcal’s smokiness with bitter Campari and sweet vermouth completely changes the flavor profile.
Savory cocktails range from classic favorites to complex and labor-intensive concoctions. If you’re looking for an interesting new cocktail to try, my list of savory cocktails celebrates the adventurous drinker.
Let me know which cocktail you enjoyed the most in the comments below!
I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.
In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.