A Dash Of Fish Sauce Can Add An Unexpected Flavor Boost To Cocktails

Fish sauce in your cocktail? It's a yes-move, and we have the receipts to prove it. The inclusion of the umami-packed condiment can build both texture and flavor in a drink, and with just the right amount added, you may not recognize that any fishy ingredient has been poured into your beverage. When matched carefully with alcohol, savory tasting notes intensify and you have yourself a cocktail that is difficult to place back down onto the bar.

Bartenders around the world have stepped up to the challenge of creating recipes with the unexpected ingredient, and the results speak for themselves. With sips of umami and a heightened impact of other ingredients added to drink shakers, bold cocktails are being confidently handed to bar patrons. From martinis made with fish sauce and pickle juice to Bloody Mary drinks enhanced with splashes of the condiment, these drinks aren't anything like the fishy-tasting beverage you might expect. In fact, just the right amount of the sauce can build chewy layers of flavor without packing the wallop of any oceanic smells that should stay away from your glass.

A saucy condiment with serious cocktail potential

Whether tackling gin martinis made with vinegar and fish sauce or mixing tequila with fish sauce, lime, and mint, bartenders can dress up more traditional drink orders. The fish sauce helps create a solid savory base in which sweeteners like agave and simple syrup can add levels of complexity to recipes. Admittedly, fish sauce is strong, so a little goes a long way when you're incorporating the ingredient. Start slowly, and taste as you go so as not to overpower whatever else is in your glass. 

Depending on where you are in the world, many types of fish sauces can be found. Once you've experimented with the ingredient's inclusion, deepen your bartending practice by working with different varieties. Not convinced fish sauce splashed into drinks is worth trying? Start with a sprinkle of salt or soy sauce to get your palate warmed up to the idea, or try caramel with fish sauce slathered onto crusty pieces of toast if you are unsure of savory tasting experiences.