The number one tip for using balsamic vinegar in a cocktail

Stuart Weaver, general manager of Lady Jane in Denver, praises balsamic for its “beautiful, rich, complex dark fruit notes,” which Weaver highlights by pairing it with blackberries in his cocktails (via Punch) . Indeed, just like in salads, balsamic is the ideal complement to a fruity drink. Yummly recommends using balsamic in a sparkling grapefruit cocktail, a recipe reminiscent of simple Paloma: largely just tequila and grapefruit soda. (Balsamic cocktails don’t sound so unheard of, huh?) For a balsamic-infused Paloma, Milagro Silver Tequila with its lightly sweetened 100% blue agave base would act as a suitable liqueur.

But, rest assured, if you’re not a fan of bourbon or tequila, balsamic can still work for your drink. The mixology platform, CraftTender, created The Black Dahlia, with a balsamic reduction, lemon juice, peach liqueur (to counter the acidity) and gin. The sweet crisp balsamic and understated citrus would likely be complemented by a drier gin like Tanqueray No. 10, with added botanical notes.

However, balsamic doesn’t just work for fruit drinks. Vodka giant Absolut has created the May Be Hot cocktail: a simplified version of a classic Bloody Mary. Miami’s Valentino Longo (who won Most Imaginative Bartender of 2020, per Punch) created a variation of the Espresso Martini using rum, amaro, a head of coffee foam and a reduction to balsamic base and Fernet-Branca – the hearty choice of industrial workers. So how can at-home mixologists make balsamic work for their own cocktails? Here is tip number one.

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