Shaken and Cultured
Every time we hit the grocery store, the yogurt aisle seems to have grown. Icelandic yogurt! Buffalo milk yogurt! Almond yogurt! And that's just the tip of the probiotic iceberg. With the cultured dairy's hot streak showing no signs of slowing down, it was only a matter of time before it started sneaking its way onto cocktail menus.
Earlier this year, the Bon Vivants cocktail team behind Trick Dog in San Francisco made the Sagittarius, a blend of Irish whiskey, house-made Meyer lemon cordial and yogurt whey. At Moving Sidewalk in Houston, the Little Reed Horses combines yogurt with pisco, sherry, cucumber, lime, bitter lemon soda and celery seed. And the Four Seasons Orlando's bar features the Get Her to the Greek: St. Augustine vodka, Chambord, Godiva dark chocolate liqueur, Greek yogurt, simple syrup and muddled raspberries, garnished with dark chocolate and raspberries.
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But in the event that your local watering hole doesn't keep yogurt in stock, you can easily shake up a creamy creation at home using these tips from Jeff Faile, bar and spirits director at Iron Gate in Washington, D.C.
How to Make a Yogurt Cocktail
Faile starts off with the house-made yogurt chef Tony Chittum serves with many of the restaurant's dishes. Though making your own yogurt is actually quite simple (here's how), a store-bought version will work in a pinch. Faile recommends Fage, the ultra-thick Greek brand.
"The yogurt adds the body you'd find in a cocktail with egg whites, but there's no foam like an egg-white drink," he explains. In terms of what to mix it with, "stay with unaged spirits, like a citrus-forward gin," Faile advises. "Then, do like I do: Look at what people are having with their yogurt at breakfast and incorporate those ingredients."
The Nikolaki cocktail Faile shakes up at the bar is, in fact, inspired by his wife's favorite breakfast. To make it, you need an ounce and a half of Boyd & Blair vodka, one ounce of honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water stirred until the honey is fully dissolved), a half ounce of lemon juice, one bar spoon of Greek yogurt and 10 to 15 rosemary needles. Add all the ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake hard, then double strain into a martini glass. "Drink. Smile. Repeat as necessary," Faile says.
Breakfast just got a lot more interesting.
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