Atlanta Bar Scene: What’s that weird ingredient in my cocktail?

Oh Sherry Baby at 1Kept combines unique ingredients like red bell pepper jam and balsamic vinegar. Photo by 1Kept.

Oh Sherry Baby at 1Kept holds unique ingredients like red bell pepper jam and balsamic vinegar. Photo by 1Kept.

Have you ever looked at the ingredients listed on cocktail menu and thought, “What?” Vinegars, foraged weeds, kale, even sake shots with uni (sea urchin roe) have created some of Atlanta’s wildest yet surprisingly tasty tipples. If you’re into a little boozy adventure, then trust us, and try these three cocktails with ingredients that make you go, “Hmm.”

Thread & Theory 

Created in partnership with the Smithsonian to celebrate the American flag’s 250th birthday, this Ticonderoga Club new world classic is a hat tip to our colonial forefathers’ love of a good rum punch. A little bit sweet, a little bit sour, Thread and Theory takes the richness of aged rum and combines it with equal parts bitters, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and sugary funk from sorghum syrup. What you get is a window into our country’s imbibing past. For those into sour beers and history lessons, this is your cocktail. Ticonderoga Club, Krog Street Market, 99 Krog St. NE, Atlanta. 404-458-4534, ticonderogaclub.com.

Oh Sherry Baby

Oh Sherry Baby combines vodka, sherry, red bell pepper jam, lemon juice and egg white to create a culinary-inspired cocktail that vodka lovers and adventurous imbibers can both enjoy. Absolut Elyx vodka’s gin-like quality with its herbal and pepper notes combine nicely with an equally dry, yet full-bodied sherry to form a solid base for the secondary ingredients to play up. A bar spoon of red bell pepper jam clings to the sugars of the sherry and lends vegetal bitterness to the drink. Lemon juice perks up this shaken drink while egg white creates a creamy texture and lovely froth. A stencil of balsamic vinegar stains the froth for garnish and prepares you for a clever palate-pleaser to pair with your pimento cheese board. 1Kept, 2293 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-254-1973, 1kept.com.

Scarlet Pimpernel

With ingredients like fermented beet juice and horseradish, your first thought might be, huh? Like its namesake, the oxidized blood-like hue of this cocktail disguises what is a surprisingly light, fresh and clever melding of flavors. Using a dry gin rather than its more botanical cousin allows the earthy sugars of the fermented beet juice to lend depth without bringing forward the bitter root notes. Honey syrup and the lush vermouth cocchi rosa lift the drink out of its terrestrial confines with lime further brightening it. The cocktail glass is given a dousing of atomized horseradish and black pepper spray before all the ingredients are poured with a twist of expressed lemon before serving. The horseradish concoction may be the key to unlocking the secrets of this drink’s creative ingredients. 4th & Swift, 621 North Ave. NE, Atlanta. 678-904-0160, 4thandswift.com.

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