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A Guide To Pairing Flavours Turmeric in Cocktails

By: Shireen Jamooji

turmericturmeric cocktail flavour pairings

Perhaps you’ve seen the trend of golden-hued cocktails taking over the world and wondered what the secret is to these sunshiney drinks. Well, it's nothing other than good old-fashioned turmeric. This kitchen staple which has been the stalwart of South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines for centuries has now been making its way into the world of mixology and making a splash with a new and intrepid flavour profile.

It has long enjoyed a status as a superfood celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties and this health-conscious attribute proves particularly compelling to people looking for ‘healthier’ ways to drink. And its aesthetic charm obviously cannot be overlooked. Turmeric, with its resplendent colour, transforms every cocktail into a visually enticing glass, destined for admiration on social media platforms.

With its warm and earthy notes, turmeric can be an easy way to revamp classic cocktails or even create new ones of your own. But it does require a practised hand and some careful thought because even though we know turmeric well as a kitchen spice, at the bar, it’s a different beast. Understanding how to pair turmeric with other flavours is essential to create harmonious and well-balanced concoctions. 

turmeric cocktail

How To Pair Turmeric With Other Spices In Cocktails

Unlike in cooking, where more spices usually mean better favours, when it comes to pairing turmeric in a cocktail, sometimes it's best to stick with 2-3 key flavours and let them shine. Turmeric's inherent warmth blends well with a variety of spices like cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper which are its natural companions and serve to enhance turmeric's earthiness. Rather than using the whole or powdered spices every time you can also create an infusion or syrup by simmering turmeric with these spices, bottling it and using it whenever needed.

turmeric drink

Pairing Turmeric With Citrus

Citrus in cocktails is a sure-shot choice. There are very few spirits or alcohols that can’t be paired with citrus fruits, and the addition of turmeric creates a zesty and refreshing dimension to your drinks. The citrusy tang of lemons or oranges complements turmeric's earthy undertones, creating a well-rounded and refreshing experience. Experiment with a Turmeric Citrus Twist by combining fresh citrus juices with a dash of turmeric and a shot of Smirnoff vodka for a vibrant burst of flavour and colour.

Turmeric cocktail

How To Add Herbs And Turmeric To A Cocktail

Turmeric's versatility extends to herbs, offering a chance to elevate the elegance of your cocktails. Think of the savoury dishes which feature herbs and turmeric and start building from there. Mint, basil, and cilantro bring a refreshing herbal layer that complements turmeric's warmth. You could use them fresh by muddling herbs with turmeric, creating a sophisticated blend that the taste buds without overwhelming them. Or you could even smoke the herbs with a turmeric cocktail to create a subtle, lingering flavour. 

Achieving the perfect balance when using turmeric in cocktails is an art. Start with small quantities and gradually adjust to your taste preferences. The key is to let turmeric enhance the overall profile rather than dominate. Remember, balance is the essence of a well-crafted cocktail.