You Should Consider Adding Pasta Water To Your Next Cocktail

Pasta water, that starchy, savory liquid that's a byproduct of boiling your favorite shaped pasta in, is great for thickening sauces, per The Kitchn. And Nigella Lawson shared on Twitter you can use it when making bread to help it "rise" and enhance this baked good's texture. But that's not all this "liquid gold," as it has been so aptly dubbed, is good for. Kim Stodel, a beverage director and advocate for repurposing food scraps, told NBC News pasta water doesn't need to go down the drain. Instead, you can use it in your cocktails. 

That's right, instead of adding to the 40% of food that is wasted in America, which is the equivalent of $408 billion, according to Feed America, you can hold on to it for use in your next whiskey sour or dirty martini. Cocktail connoisseurs may feel skeptical about using this ingredient, but if leftover burrata water can transform your creamy cocktails, and it can, then using pasta water may seem like less of a stretch. Many cocktails have both savory and creamy elements to them, and that's where your pasta water comes into play. So how does pasta water mix with your favorite alcohol of choice? 

It adds flavor without sweetness

Quite well is the answer. Naomi Levy, head of beverages at a speakeasy in Boston, told Exhale Lifestyle she uses pasta water to create her Cacio e Pepe martini, which is made with "Ketel‎ One, Gouda-infused Dolin Dry Vermouth, black pepper, and pasta water syrup," and leaves its imbiber completely satiated. Levy lamented, "Pasta water has a huge amount of flavor in it. So why not turn that into a simple syrup?"

Levy is not alone in her thinking. Fiorella in Philadelphia created its original Dirty Pasta Water Martini. A reviewer shares that the pasta water in this creation gives "the briney martini a uniquely silky body and viscosity without any sweetness." Of course, it is important to remember as you are crafting your alcoholic concoctions that, as Food & Wine explains, how starchy the salted water will be depends largely on the pasta-to-water ratio that is boiled in. You should always sample it before adding it to your cocktail to ensure it meets the flavor requirements of your taste buds. And not to worry if you don't have room in your fridge for a gallon of the stuff or no immediate plans to use. Food & Wine suggests freezing some in your ice cube trays for future cocktail curating.