The world has more to offer than apples and oranges. And thank goodness for us – and our drinks.
With the bounty of international flavors available to us, cocktails are all the more exciting because of it. And here, exciting means exotic – from the familiar lychee to the more obscure mangosteen. Basically, if it reminds you of an island vacation, it’s probably exotic.
While exotic fruits by their very label are those not native to where we live, in our ever-expanding world, the term “exotic” is flexible at best. So, while they may be unusual, they probably can be found at a market near you. Add one of Mother Nature’s craziest creations to a cocktail like those below and you might just feel a little exotic yourself.
Dragon Fruit Smash
Courtesy of Justin Leo, Executive Chef, American Q, Florida
- 2 oz. Patron tequila
- 1 Dragon fruit, in quarters (origin: Mexico then Southeast Asia; now grown in Hawaii, Israel, Australia, and Cyprus)
- 2 Mint leaves
- 1 Basil leaf
- 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. Basil simple syrup*
Preparation: In a mixing glass, muddle mint, basil, and dragon fruit with lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients, ice and shake. Pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of dragon fruit.
*Basil Simple Syrup
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 cup Fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
Preparation: Heat ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and allow to steep for about 15 minutes. Strain syrup. Basil Simple Syrup will keep for about a week in the refrigerator, stored in an airtight container.
- 1 bottle of ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc
- 1/2 cup Guava juice
- 1/4 cup Orange juice
- 1 cup Pineapple (cut into 1″ wedges)
- Orange slices
- Blood orange slices
- Mango slices
- Passion fruit (origin: Southern Brazil through Paraguay to northern Argentina)
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a large carafe and seal tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Fill glasses with crushed ice and garnish with fresh blood orange, pineapple and mango.
Courtesy of CATCH NYC
- 2 oz. Jalapeño-infused Herradurra silver tequila*
- 1 oz. Blood orange juice
- 1/2 oz. Yuzu juice (origin: East Asia, believed to be a hybrid of sour mandarin and Ichang papeda)
- 1/2 oz. Agave
Preparation: Double strain over a rocks glass filled with ice.
- 3 Jalapeños
- 1 bottle Herradurra silver tequila
Preparation: Cut off the stem end of the jalapeno and slice in half. Remove the ribs and seeds. Slice each piece into 1/2 inch wide strips. Place strips of roasted jalapeno into a large mason jar or other glass container. Add the silver tequila. Seal jar and steep for 1 to 3 days. Strain the tequila into a clean jar or bottle. Discard the roasted jalapeno strips.
Helen of Troy
Courtesy of CATCH NYC
- 2 oz. 50 Bleu Vodka
- 2 oz. Lychee juice (origin: Guangdong and Fujian provinces of China, but now cultivated in many parts of the world)
- 1/2 oz. Passion fruit puree
- 2 Lime wedges, juiced
- 3/4 dropper Black peppercorn tincture*
Preparation: Double strain into chilled coup glass and garnish with a Thai basil leaf.
*Peppercorn Tincture Recipe
Courtesy of Home Speakeasy
Preparation: Empty 1 tea bag and fill with peppercorns. Tie up loose end of the tea bag with string and put in a small jar. Fill with high proof vodka or Everclear. Steep for at least a day or two up to 6 weeks if using a lower proof vodka. Shake lightly every other day.
Courtesy of Season with Spice
- 2 shots Vodka (2 tbsp. = 1 shot)
- 8 Mangosteens (origin: mainly Southeast Asia)
- 2 tbsp. Freshly-squeezed Lemon Juice
- 3 tsp. Raw or white sugar
- 1 inch Young ginger*
- Ice cubes
- 1 can Soda water
Preparation: Open the mangosteens and place the small, seedless white pulp pieces in a blender. Set aside the large pulp pieces (the ones with a seed inside) for later, to eat while you drink the cocktail. Add the lemon juice, sugar, ginger, and about 10 ice cubes, into the blender, and blend until smooth. Add a shot of vodka into each glass with a few more ice cubes. Then fill both glasses halfway with the blended mix, and top off with soda water. Garnish with a lemon slice.
*Young ginger is a sweeter and milder version of the spice, and mixes well in cocktails. If you don’t have it, feel free to take a shortcut by replacing the ginger and soda water with a can of ginger ale.