Countless cocktails cater to those with sweet tooths and sour cravings, but those who reach for chips instead of candy are often left in the lurch. For the salty folks among us, we offer these cocktails, which use spicy, salty and vegetal ingredients to create an umami punch of flavor. They’re perfect for enjoying with a meal, or drinking in place of one (we won’t judge). Here, the 10 best savory cocktails you should be making.
10 Best Savory Cocktails
This ubiquitous brunch-tail is a great first foray into the savory cocktail world. The classic blend of vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, horseradish and lemon juice is foolproof, but also highly customizable. Swap in tequila and you have a Bloody Maria, add some clam juice and you have a Bloody Caesar. Experiment with different hot sauces, salt rims and garnishes, or turn the Bloody Mary on its head with unlikely twists like our sushi-inspired Maki Mary or effervescent Bubbly Mary.
If you find the Martini too bracing or dry, add a splash of olive brine to mellow out the harsher alcohol flavors. For a more complex take on the classic, try the Progress Martini, made with rosemary-infused olive oil and smoked olive juice.
Beef stock may not be the first cocktail ingredient you’d reach for, but trust us, this salty cocktail is as comforting as mom’s homemade soup. Seasoned like a Bloody Mary, the Bullshot garnered a cult following in the 1950s and is starting to make a comeback. If beef isn’t your thing, try this poultry-centric version, made with turkey stock, gravy-fat washed vodka and a crispy garnish of fried turkey skin.
A Mexican day-drinking favorite, the spicy Michelada is another easily customizable cocktail. While you can’t go wrong with the blend of Mexican lager, hot sauce, Maggi sauce, tomato juice and fresh lime juice, feel free to introduce other flavors to the mix, like sweet pineapple or fiery jalapeño.
For an extra intense night out, forgo sweet shooters like the B-52, and down this shot of hellfire instead. White dog whiskey and spicy hot sauce are all you need for this savory shooter—just be prepared to chase the hurts-so-good burn afterward.
Everyone’s favorite hangover food transforms into a little hair of the dog in this bacon and egg sandwich-inspired cocktail. Bacon-infused whiskey mixes with citrus, honey syrup and frothy egg whites for a sweet and salty cocktail. Garnished with a piece of candied bacon, it’ll have you feeling better in no time.
Fresh Orange Juice
In this light cocktail from New York’s Sushisamba, muddled shisito peppers highlight the vegetal flavors of caçhaca and bring a mild savoriness to the classic Caipirinha, creating a bright cocktail that’s refreshing without being sweet.
Don’t be alarmed by the macabre color, this squid ink cocktail from New York’s Death Ave. Brewing Company won’t bite. Sweet vermouth, grape brandy and lime juice balance out the salty-savoriness of the squid ink, while a sprig of fresh oregano adds some aromatic herbaceousness.
This crisp Sazerac variation gets its savoriness from a range of uncommon ingredients, like caraway-heavy aquavit, cumin-flavored Kummel liqueur and celery bitters. A bountiful bouquet of fennel fronds turns this cocktail into a veritable spring garden.
Smoky, savory mezcal joins forces with avocado, matcha powder and lime juice for a silky, pale green cocktail that’s lighter than most avo-cocktails. Be sure to rim the glass with smoked salt to bring out the smoky flavor of the mezcal and give the cocktail even more of a savory bite.