Spices & Condiments
Aniseed is a crescent shaped seed, which is a member of the parsley family; used in both sweet and savory dishes; impart a strong licorice flavor and a lightly sweet tone to food and drinks.
Anise oil is derived from the seeds and sometimes from the leaves, it is used in drinks to mark an accentuated flavor to a spirit such as vodka.
Bitters is a type of spirit made from different herbs, citrus, roots, and plants dissolved in alcohol or glicerine. Its flavor is bitter or bittersweet is used to flavor and add a dry zest to cocktails. Because of their function as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant bitters are often used in before- and after dinner cocktails (aperitifs and digestifs).
If bitters is used in cocktails, the quantity is always small to prevent ruining the cocktail. It is recommended not to use it with non alcoholic drinks due to its high alcohol content.
Common bitters include:
Angostura bitters were developed in 1824 by Dr. J. Siegert, who intended them for use as a tonic to treat fatigue and stomach ailments. It is now the single most widely distributed bar item in the world.
Angostura Bitter is named for the port town of Angostura, Venezuela, and not for the bark of the eponymous tree. It is made from a secret blend of tropical herbs, plant extracts and spices - reportedly over forty ingredients.
Orange bitters are made from the rinds of unripe sour oranges steeped in alcohol (usually gin) without adding sugar.
This is the second most popular kind of herbal bitters at the bar, second to Angostura bitters, chances are good however, that you have never seen this available on your store shelves.
Here is a recipe to make it at home:
- 1/2 pound dried Seville Orange peel, chopped finely
- 1 pinch Cardamom
- 1 pinch Caraway
- 1 pinch Coriander seeds
- 2 cups Grain Alcohol
- 4 tbsp burnt Sugar or Caramel coloring
Mix the orange peel, herb seeds, and alcohol. Let stand in a sealed jar for 15 days, agitating every day. Pour off spirits through a cloth, and seal again. Take the strained off seeds and peel, put them in a saucepan, crushing with a wooden muddler. Cover them with boiling water, simmer 5 minutes. Put in a covered jar for 2 days, then strain this off and add to the spirits. Put in burnt sugar for color. Filter again, let stand until it settles perfectly clear, then bottle for use.
Lemon Bitters is prepared from a variety of lemon oils, augmented with lemon grass and other natural flavors. Lemon bitters add an interesting background flavor to cocktails.
Peach Bitters is a fruity mixer very rarely used at present time, however it's a big helper in improving the smooth touch of peach aroma in cocktails that require this particular ingredient. It can also be a substitute for other type of bitters.
Underberg is a natural herb bitters taken for digestion. It is made from a selection of aromatic herbs from 43 countries plus water, alcohol, and roots of the genus Gentiana. Its origin country is Germany and since 1846 Europeans have taken it to conclude a meal. It is not a beverage so it should be sipped at once. It has a strong herbal taste, good to flavor some of after meal cocktails.
It's a gentian-based bitters with floral aroma and sweet taste. It's currently produced in the USA, and it's an important ingredient for the Sazerac cocktail.
Whiskey Barrel Bitters
Obtained from the freshly emptied oak whiskey barrels from Tennessee, it has a soaked and aged whiskey-taste. Very rare to find sometimes, because it's bottled only once a year.
Rhubarb and other flavors combined in this one.
Bitters made from celery and used in cocktails with unusual flavors such as the Prairie Oyster or Bloody Mary, etc.
Candied Orange Rind
Chat Masala Powder
Chat Masala Powder is a group of spices grounded together very popular in Indian cuisine and as a condiment for their cocktails. The next is a recipe to make chat masala:
- 4 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 2 tbsp Cumin Seeds
- 1 tsp Carom Seeds (ajwain)
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 2 tbsp Black Salt Crystals (or ordinary salt)
- 1 tbsp Mango powder (amchoor)
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Oil
Spray oil in a non-stick frying pan and roast coriander seeds, cumin, and carom seeds separately till they turn aromatic. Mix all the ingredients and grind into a fine powder using a grinder. Store chat masala in a air-tight bottle and use rasam spice when required.
A very hot type of spice, used commonly in many cuisines. It's actually a fruit, and can be found in different hot intensities and/or colors. Such as green, red, yellow.
Yellow Chili Pepper Sauce
Known as Ají Amarillo in Perú is a popular condiment in the Peruvian culinary culture and can be found at ethnic food stores.
Traditional Indian food ingredient is made like it follows:
400 g Cilantro (coriander), chopped leaves
5 Chilies, green and finely chopped
1 tbsp Cumin, ground seeds
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Garlic clove, chopped
Salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add a little water or oil if too dry. Keep paste in air-tight jars and store in the fridge for one or two days before using.
Cocktail sauce is a simple form of ketchup sauce mixed with prepared horseradish. It is popular to be consumed with shrimp and sea food.
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a small bowl, stir together all the ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Dried Hibiscus Flowers
Ilex guayusa, commonly known as "guayusa" is an Amazonian tree of the holly genus, native to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest. Guayusa has been used from ancient times to modern day to increase physical and mental capacity, to fight fatigue, and to restore youthful energy.
The tea is smooth and sweet tasting, traditionally, it is drank at first rise in the morning, before sunrise, giving great energy for the day, but is also drank throughout the day. For many Ecuadorian Indigenous, the morning drinking of guayusa is a social ritual.
Horseradish is a sharp, strong-flavored condiment made from the grated roots of this plant. It's found as sauce, and powder. It gives your cocktails a very hot 'wasabi' touch.
Wasabi paste is a paste form of the Japanese horseradish root, called 'wasabi'. It usually comes in tubes or as in a powder to be mixed with water, it's applied in Japanese cuisine, e.g. sushi.
Maggi® Seasoning is a versatile sauce made from the extract of pure vegetable proteins. This sauce features a distinctive flavor and aroma, which adds zest and depth to soups, salads, and vegetables with just a few dashes. It is a sauce for marinating, stir-frying, and dipping. It is also used to flavour some cocktails showed in this website.
Oyster sauce is a brown dark sauce prepared from oysters and commonly used in Chinese, and Thai food. It is used as an ingredient in a cocktail called Wok.
Pepper is the most popular spice in the world. It is sold in both black and white varieties and for the most part is imported from India, Indonesia, and Borneo. It is sold in whole (peppercorn) or ground varieties, and is used in almost every dish imaginable. It is popular using pepper in cocktails such as the famous Bloody Mary.
Peppercorn is the small dried fruit of Piper, the pepper plant.
It's a flour made from grinding the dried tubers of several orchids such as: Orchis mascula, and Orchis militaris, which contain a nutritious starch called glucomanna. It is used to make a sort of beverage that historically has been considered an aphrodisiac. In countries like Turkey is available as an instant mix, and flavored form of salep powder.
Salt is a condiment that is very used in cocktails. Specially in those where salt is part of the garnish and taste. E.g. Margarita, Bloody Mary, among others.
Types of Salt used in Cocktails
- Table Salt: the most widely known type of salt. It is also called edible salt or just salt, the fine one. It is used to rim glasses in most of the tequila based drinks and to condiment other drinks.
- Kosher Salt: is a salt without additives, it has a much larger grain size than regular table salt.
- Seasoning Salt: is salt that has been seasoned with spices such as: pepper, thyme, garlic, or other herbs and spices.
- Kala Namak Salt: or Black Salt is a special type of Indian mineral salt. It is actually pinkish grey rather than black and has a very distinctiive sulfurous mineral taste, it is used in Indian cuisine as a condiment and is added to chaats, chutneys, raitas and many other savory Indian snacks.
- Sea Salt: is a salt obtained by the evaporation of seawater. It comes iodized for human consumption, it's a coarse salt.
Sugar is an important ingredient in cocktails making. It is used not only to sweeten drinks but also to garnish them.
There are different types of sugar used for these purposes, the most common types are:
White Sugar: or granulated sugar is made from sugar canes or sugar beets. It is highly refined and is available in cubes or tablets in many sizes and textures.
Caster Sugar: or castor sugar is a superfine sugar, more finely granulated that dissolves almost instantly.
Powdered Sugar: or confectioners' sugar is a granulated sugar that has been crushed into a fine powder with a small amount of cornstarch, which is added to prevent clumping.
Coarse Sugar: or decorating sugar has granules about four times larger than those of regular granulated sugar. It is colored by using food colorants.
Brown Sugar: is white sugar combined with molasses, which gives it a soft texture. There are two types: light and dark.
Jaggery Sugar: this traditional, dark, unrefined sugar is made from the juices of crushed sugar cane. It is used to sweeten dishes all over India and Sri Lanka, in South America is known as panela. It has a rich nutty flavor, but unlike more refined sugars, it retains more mineral salts without using chemical agents.
Muscovado Sugar: is a very dark brown, moist and coarse unrefined brown sugar, with a strong molasses flavor, made from pure sugarcane juice.
Vanilla is a flavoring pod derived from orchids native to Mexico. It is world-wide used as flavoring agent in food, and there are 3 main preparations of natural vainilla:
Vainilla Extract.- in alcoholic or glycerol solution, dark and aromatic
Vanilla Pod.- split in two to obtain a stronger aroma, used in cocktails as garnish
Vanilla Sugar.- ground pods commonly blended with sugar
Worcestershire Sauce is a liquid condiment used worldwide. It is made from the combination of several ingredients: vinegar, molasses, corn syrup, water, chilli peppers, soy sauce, pepper, tamarinds, anchovies, onions, shallots, cloves, asafoetida, and garlic. Uses: Bloody Mary Cocktail among others.