ho doesn’t love a cocktail — or a mocktail, for that matter? With their sheer creative possibilities, drinks are one of the best vehicles for exploring new flavor combinations and culinary techniques. With about two-thirds of consumers saying they’d be interested in adding a spicy kick to their favorite beverages, heat is a great place to start. Try these ideas for infusing flavor and heat into your liquid lineup:
Un-basic your simple syrup
Simple syrup can be more than just sweet: infuse it with unusual flavors to add new dimensions to your cocktails. Start with your usual 1:1 simple recipe. After boiling, add a cinnamon stick, citrus peels, or a few dashes of your favorite TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce flavor. (You can also follow the same process with store-bought syrup!) By combining different flavor elements into one ingredient, you also simplify the drink-making process, so you and your bartenders can shake and pour with speed come happy hour. For example, try infusing your simple with TABASCO® Scorpion sauce for a spicy margarita.
Pep up your spirit
Steeping alcohol in flavoring agents is another simple way to add another layer of nuance to your cocktails. Mixologists all over the world are successfully experimenting with infusing alcohol with jalapeño slices, citrus peels, vanilla beans or even coffee beans. Or simply add a few dashes of your favorite TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauce flavor for an easy flavor boost.
Suggestion: While Original Red may be a go-to, TABASCO® brand Green Jalapeno Sauce offers milder heat from fresh jalapeños. Try it in your gin, mezcal or pisco.
Finish with flavor
The TABASCO® Family of Flavors lets you add a shot of complex flavor to any drink, simply by shaking out a dash. Chipotle makes an excellent partner to smoky mezcal, while Habanero plays particularly well with dark rum, balancing the sweetness and complementing the caramel notes. Think of it like bitters: a dash or two at the end just adds something special.
And don’t forget the Original Red, Chipotle or Habanero in your Bloody Marys!
Suggestion: This Double Mary Morning Fix is a fun and sophisticated mash-up between a classic Bloody Mary and a prairie oyster — the old-school hangover cure consisting of a raw egg yolk and hot sauce.
Get with the garnish
A Bloody Mary can become a mini-meal in itself, with attention-grabbing garnishes like bacon, shrimp, stuffed olives, pickled vegetables and more in addition to the traditional celery stick. But don’t stop there: brush your bacon slices with Original Red before frying for an extra kick, or give blue cheese chunks a pepper sauce bath before stuffing into olives. In fact, you can pickle any veggie, like pearl onions, garlic or okra, in a TABASCO-spiked pickling mix. (For an easy hack, simply doctor up a pre-pickled product with your favorite sauce for extra zing).
Suggestion: Marinate mozzarella pearls in Original Red sauce from an hour to overnight. Skewer them and serve with spicy or savory-leaning cocktails.
Meet the mocktail
Who needs the booze? Mocktails are a growing category across restaurant types. Currently offered on only .5% of menus, they’ve grown by 83% over the last year and 339% over the past four, according to Datassential. Great for those who are trying to cut down on their alcohol consumption and be a little better to themselves, interesting flavor combinations can win you profits even without the booze (habanero pineapple? Kicked-up cranberry?). You can even try a few dashes of TABASCO® in a green juice or smoothie for something a little different.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to experiment! Cheers and bottoms up.
The TABASCO® Family of Flavors® lineup of nine unique pepper sauces lets you dial up heat and flavor in all your creations. Learn more about the products available for foodservice and get recipe inspiration at TABASCOfoodservice.com.
 Datassential, TABASCO On the Table Report, Dec. 2018