With the popularity of tropical flavors, banana is showing up in more summer drinks. Some mixologists, such as Brian Means of Dirty Habit in San Francisco, add banana flavor in the form of house-made roasted banana bitters (for the B-String cocktail, $13) and banana puree (for the Cinnamon Toast Punch, a shared cocktail).
Kevin Diedrich at BDK Restaurant & Bar in San Francisco incorporates Giffard Banane Du Brésile liqueur in the restaurant’s banana cocktail ($12), as do lead bartender Chris Burmeister of Outpost in Goleta, CA (the Mr. and Mrs. Howell cocktail), and Chad Phillips of Pennyroyal in Seattle (A Preferred Blur). Phillips also features a local gin in his cocktail recipe.
Head bartender John Stanton of Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago adds banana flavor in the form of crème de bananes liqueur (Eve’s First Kiss) or banana syrup (By Their Bootstraps). Stanton says, “I think banana has become a much more common cocktail ingredient with the rise (or reemergence of) tiki drinks and tropical cocktails.”
Here are Stanton’s tips for crafting a banana-flavored cocktail: “When crafting a cocktail, sweet ingredients are necessary to balance out sour or bitter flavors. As a bartender, you’re always looking for different types of sweet flavor, in the name of variety. Bananas work well. One caution—some amount of particulate will most likely remain in your spirit, and will eventually spoil despite the presence of alcohol. You should be mindful of shelf life because of this.”
Contact Gail Bellamy at [email protected].