Tobacco – the new ‘it’ cocktail ingredient
on 21/02/12 at 1:13 pmBooze News
Tobacco – reduced through distillation – has become the latest ingredient in bartenders’ recipe books, reports Daniel Tapper.
It’s a freezing cold weekday night and I find myself in a place called Barts – a discreet, prohibition-style cocktail bar in the heart of Chelsea, brimming with stuffed animals, quirky antiques and young professionals – many of them drinking cocktails made with tobacco liqueur.
Tobacco as an ingredient in drinks isn’t completely new, but it is rare. Back in 2003, a group of Floridian cocktail makers began making tobacco-spiked cocktails in an attempt to defy the smoking ban. One such drink was the ‘Nicotini’ made using vodka infused with tobacco leaves – its purpose being to recreate the effects of a cigarette.
At the same time in New York, cocktail makers were trying to recreate the taste of cigarettes with drinks like the ‘Smokeless Manhattan’ made of port, Laphroaig whisky and orange bitters, which apparently tasted like a Marlboro Red.
In 2010 a hotel bartender called Jonathan Condesa in Mexico City invented a cocktail called the D.F.Irreverente, made by mixing rum, pineapple juice and the contents of a cigarette together and then straining it into a glass. But until now, there hasn’t been a liqueur actually distilled using tobacco.
The cocktails I’ve come to try tonight are made using Perique Tobacco Liqueur produced by scientist come craft-distiller, Ted Breaux, who makes the spirit in France using distilled Louisiana Perique – one of the rarest and strongest tobaccos in the world.