Drinks

Turmeric Bitters: Your New Favorite Cocktail Ingredient

It's time to start mixing this trendy ingredient into your drinks
Tumeric Bitters Cocktail
Photo: Michelle Sun/Tasting Table

If you had told us three years ago that 2016 would be the year of turmeric, we would have smiled and nodded while internally wondering what you were smoking earlier. But now that turmeric is, indeed, one of the year’s trendiest foods, it’s time to celebrate with a stiff drink containing (what else?) turmeric bitters.

While you’re mixing fall cocktails and looking ahead to holiday party season, get to know the hottest mixer in town: turmeric bitters from Brooklyn-based Cecil & Merl. Husband-and-wife cofounders Bryan Calvert and Deborah Williamson, who also run beloved Brooklyn restaurant James, launched their bitters line in 2012 and debuted the turmeric flavor earlier this year.

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Made with turmeric, burdock, pineapple and mango, the bitters’ dynamic flavor mixes the earthy mustiness of turmeric with tropical notes. “The blend was inspired by using turmeric on a daily basis in smoothies, cooking and juices,” Williamson says.

The possibilities are endless. Squirt a few drops into soda water for an uplifting elixir or mix some into a smoothie. Alternatively, dropping a few dashes in your cocktail will provide added depth, color and might make you feel a little bit better about ingesting all that booze.

“Burdock is a known anti-inflammatory, and pineapple has great digestive benefits, both of which work well with the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric,” Williamson says. “We like the earthiness of burdock combined with tangy pineapple and vibrant turmeric root for a balanced blend.”

Williamson offers cocktail recipes on the Cecil & Merl website—like turmeric cobbler—but encourages open-minded folks to use the stuff in everything from salad dressings to soups.

You can buy the bitters online, or find them behind the bar at James or at nearby Korean restaurant Insa.

See below for an exclusive recipe from Cecil & Merl:

Turmeric Cooler

Ingredients
3 cucumber wheels
Ice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
4 dashes Cecil & Merl turmeric bitters
Seltzer water, for top off

Directions
In a mixing glass, muddle the cucumber. Add ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake. Strain into a tall glass, top with seltzer water and serve.

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