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Health

Turmeric’s giant leap: From kitchen to cocktail glasses

May 22, 2019 06:03 AM

COURTESY TIMES OF INDIA MAY 22

Turmeric’s giant leap: From kitchen to cocktail glasses
Robert Simonson

If cocktails look golden to you lately, it’s probably not because spring is here and the sun is out. Turmeric, the bright yellow-orange spice long used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, is the latest ingredient to make the leap from the kitchen to the cocktail glass. Every upscale bar menu these days seems to have at least one drink containing the spice.

On the one hand, turmeric is riding its current reputation as a superfood with anti-inflammatory powers — a big selling point at a time when bars are straining to sell the idea that cocktails can be healthful. On the other hand, it’s pretty. Tur meric tur ns every cocktail into a sunshiny glass of Instagram bait.


There are those who mix with turmeric for more mundane reasons, like flavour. “Just a dash or two can add another layer,” said Jillian Vose, the bar director and managing partner of the Dead Rabbit, in Manhattan.

Vose uses turmeric in her drink Watch Tower, which contains Irish whiskey, brandy and yogurt, among other things. She says it keeps guests going back for another sip “to seek out what that underlying flavour is.”

Nico de Soto, owner of a bar works with turmeric because, like Mt Everest, it is there. “Turmeric was a spice I really wanted to incorporate into the menu because I love the flavour”.

Getting the spice into cocktails can be labour-intensive, and not as simple as sprinkling ground turmeric into a drink. Eben Freeman, a New York bartender said the spice can play havoc with bar equipment. “That yellow stains everything,” he said.

Turmeric found favour with American chefs years ago. But cocktail bar menus tend to be the slowpokes of the food-and-drink world, seizing upon new ideas last. “It was in the juice bars and then went into the coffee bars,” Freeman said. Now it’s in bar bars.

Clark-Ginnetti, of 116 Crown, began drinking turmeric tea on the advice of his doctor, and believes it helped ease soreness in his joints.

Sean Kenyon, another bar owner doesn’t think people should turn to cocktails to improve fitness. “I don’t look for cocktails to be healthy,” he said. “I look for cocktails to have booze in them, to be tasty and composed and balanced.” And, if possible, bright yellow

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