2018 Best Cocktails in America: The Salted Plum Harlowe MXM

2018 Best Cocktails in America: The Salted Plum

These 10 cocktails, representing leading bar trends, were selected by editors of Restaurant Hospitality to spotlight innovation. Read on and get inspired. See all the winners >>

Where to find it: Harlowe MXM, Dallas

Price: $11

Creator: Alex Fletcher

Ingredients: Vodka, black plum shrub, Cointreau, citrus

Trend: The cosmo returns to its more sophisticated roots

The publication Liquor.com recently wrote that the cosmopolitan, that pretty little pink drink, has become the most maligned of a generation, “ubiquitous, utterly uninteresting and possessing a beauty that originates in part from the belly of a plastic bottle. Or so some say.”

Blame it on the HBO show “Sex in the City,” or just sheer overkill. But the cosmo, once the cocktail darling of the 1990s, seemed to slip away by the 2000s.

Alex Fletcher, beverage director for the Dallas-based multiconcept group Dog and Pony Show, which operates Harlowe MXM, said he was training some young bartenders and discovered that they had never heard of a cosmo.

Fletcher said his eyes were opened to the cocktail by its originator Toby Cecchini, who is credited with creating the drink at the Odeon in New York in the late 1980s using Absolut Citron vodka, Cointreau, Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail, lime juice and a lemon twist. Fletcher met him at an event and realized how much thought Cecchini had put into the original drink, which others later simplified with shortcuts.

Fletcher, meanwhile, was looking for a way to include the Japanese snack li hing mui — a salty, dried plum — into a cocktail and the cosmo came to mind.

To evoke the plum flavor, Fletcher made a black plum shrub with a little rice wine vinegar and salt tincture, in the place of cranberry juice. An orange slice is flamed over the top to add another citrus element and the drink is garnished with a salted plum.

The result is a sophisticated cosmo for a new generation — one that may never know Carrie Bradshaw and her crew or the sickly sweet pink drinks consumed in their wake.

TAGS: Drink Trends
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