The 8 Weirdest Cocktail Ingredients
Contributed by Anna Archibald
Posted May 14, 2014
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Foie gras in a Martini. Sugar snap peas muddled with tarragon.

More than ever before, we’re seeing ingredients previously confined to the plate making their way into our glass.

So we did some digging to unearth a few of the strangest drink additions. The hidden treasures: everything from leafy greens to seaweed to sea urchin gonads. Questionable? Maybe. Intriguing? Absolutely.

Weigh in below: What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve ever tried in a cocktail?

Peas

Muddled or pureed, sugar snap peas are a hot item among some of the country’s leading bartenders, including New York’s Naren Young, who recently wrote about the legume’s versatility and shared recipes that feature a spectrum of spirits. It gives a whole new meaning to mom’s nag, “Eat your peas!”

Bell peppers

We’ve used hot peppers aplenty to create spicy cocktails. Still, we rarely consider its sweeter cousin, the bell pepper. It may rank zero on the Scoville scale, which measures a chile’s heat, but its mild, vegetal flavor pairs nicely with mezcal and tequila in drinks like the Savory Margarita, which calls for bell pepper juice, and the Dante Belpepper, which uses a seasoned bell pepper puree.

Mushrooms

Care for a little fungi in your cocktail? Apparently, lots of bartenders do and, frankly, it’s way better than it sounds. Take the Dirt Nap, an earthy tipple from star San Francisco bartender Brian Means: It’s made with a base of dry vermouth that’s been infused with porcini mushrooms. Odd? Yes. Delicious? Definitely. A slice of your favorite ’shroom also makes for a delighfully bizarre garnish.

(Photo by Drinking in America)

Kale

Juicing has shown us that this leafy green isn’t just good for munching. It’s certainly not the most likely candidate for a cocktail, so we were surprised to see it appear in a boozy concoction at last year’s Food Network Wine and Food Festival in New York. Curious to try it yourself? Get your daily dose of Vitamin K with the Azoteas Verdes Margarita or a Green Margarita. (Tequila, apparently, is the base spirit of choice for kale.)

Root Vegetables

Carrots are no longer just for rabbits, and beets have found their way out of the oven and into your drink. No matter if they’re paired with gin, a liqueur or any other kind of booze, we think these liquified root vegetables are a good alternative to your dinner side dish. Up next: parsnips and celery root?

(Photo by Beautifiul Booze)

Foie Gras

We’ve had cocktails made with duck sauce soda and garnished with an egg roll, but foie gras? That’s serious next-level imbibing. Andre’s in Las Vegas saw its potential and decided to add it to the menu in the form of a Martini. And a Portland bar called Ox even used shaved frozen foie gras to top a bourbon cocktail they named "Foie the Hell of It."

Uni

That’s right: Sea urchin has transcended the sushi bar. The new Pot Bar in The Line Hotel in Los Angeles’ Koreatown put a tequila-based liquified uni cocktail on its menu earlier this year. The drink also includes seaweed, which brings us to our final weird cocktail ingredient...

Seaweed

We see all kinds of inventive cocktail recipes on DrinkWire, our community of cocktail and spirits bloggers and bartenders, but the Kombu Seaweed Martini from Sippity Sup caught our full attention. To make the drink, infuse sake with seaweed and celery, then add some gin and celery bitters.

(Photo courtesy Sippity Sup)

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