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Food Odds – Cloves Top Spring’s Hot Cocktail Ingredients

Randy McInnis

by Randy McInnis in Entertainment

Updated Jul 4, 2019 · 4:19 PM PDT

Every friend group has that guy (or gal), you know, the one who sets the trends for your social circle.

He was the first one to listen to Animal Collective. He taught everyone how to yarn bomb. And, crucially, he’s never set an e-foot on Google Plus.

When it comes to getting his drank on, he’s always clued into the next “it” bevvy, whether it’s an exclusive craft beer or a hot new cocktail. Since Trevor already covered the next great microbrews, I’m going to set the odds on the trendiest cocktail ingredients as we head into spring.

Just what is your cool-a** friend going to be tippling in 2016? Some things old, some things new, some things healthy … and butter.

Odds your coolest friend offers you a drink with the following ingredients this year:

Cloves: 4/1

I don’t recommend eating a clove straight-up. I don’t think anyone does. But the aromatic spice is finding its way into beverages galore these days. When you’re in the mood for a night cap with a strong flavor, try a Tom and Jerry or a Bishop. (I recommend the Bishop in warmer months.)

As a bonus, it may help prevent premature ejaculation! Let’s hear the (c)love of your life complain about your “drinking problem” now!

For the Bishop recipe on Epicurious, you’ll need:

  • one orange (naval)
  • eight cloves
  • one 750-ml bottle of port

To prepare:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Stud orange with cloves and roast in a small shallow ceramic or glass baking dish until browned and soft, about 1 1/2 hours.

Carefully quarter orange, then bring orange quarters and Port just to a simmer in a 2- to 2 1/2-quart saucepan. Remove from heat and serve warm.

Matcha: 6/1

You already know that matcha is a superfood. But did you know it can be the base for your super cocktail, as well? Your hip friend does, and he’s liable to be offering you a matcha mai-tai to cool your jets this spring. Not only will your square taste buds enjoy the ride, but you’ll find yourself brimming with bounce for the rest of the day thanks to matcha’s energy-boosting qualities. Well, as long as you don’t have like five of them and pass out.

Eater.com has posted the ingredients for Fig Restaurant’s “Matcha-Man Mai Tai”. Just get out:

  • one oz. Matusalem (white) rum
  • half an oz. Mount Gay (dark) rum
  • half an oz. coconut orgeat
  • matcha tea syrup
  • a lime

To prepare:

Mix the light rum with the dark rum; add the orgeat, a squirt of lime, and matcha to taste; mix vigorously (and drink up!).

K****r Limes: 13/2

I hate it when racist things are delicious. (It’s hard for me to enjoy a side of Confederate flag ragout knowing the history of the stars and bars.) We can all agree (I hope) that there’s a certain lime out there that needs a new name. The tastiness of the k****r lime is not diminished by its moniker, however, and it can add the perfect twist to your favorite spring cocktail. Lucky for you, your cool friend has a solution: just call it a makrut lime (which is what they go by in Thailand, according to Slate). Now you can enjoy it as a tasty cocktail ingredient while upping your progressive bona fides at the same time! Bernie Sanders would be proud.

If you’re in the midst of a particularly warm spring this year, try the makrut lime lemonade from Molly O’Neill over at the New York Times. First you’ll need to acquire:

  • two cups water
  • one cup sugar
  • ten makrut lime leaves
  • half a cup lemon juice
  • two cups club soda

To prepare:

Combine the water, sugar, and lime leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil (on medium heat); allow to simmer for ten minutes; transfer to a jug; let cool and refrigerate until it reaches the desired temperature; add two tablespoons of lemon juice and half a cup of club soda to a separate glass; add half a cup of juice from the jug; add ice if desired.

Activated Charcoal: 8/1

Want to know your cool friend’s secret to staying on top of the hottest trends? He’s never hungover. (Think about how much extra time you’d have if you weren’t confined to the couch watching Nivage infomercials for two hours every Sunday. Probably about two hours!)

“But he drinks just as much as the rest of us,” you’re saying to yourself, “how can that be?” It’s because he knows all the tricks of the trade when it comes to fending off the “Irish flu”.

Activated charcoal (i.e. charcoal that’s been treated to increase its absorptive capacities) has been a popular morning-after cure for ages, but now it’s becoming a popular ingredient for the evening-before, which ought to help you jumpstart your recovery. Try this “Back Alley” (basically a modified Manhattan) from Zentan restaurant in Washington, DC.


  • one oz. rye
  • one oz. cedar barrel-aged sake
  • a dash of activated charcoal
  • a dash of bespoke “opium den” bitters (five spice, Szechuan peppers, fennel seed, clove, Indonesian long peppers, poppy seeds, and black tea)

To prepare:

Stir the rye, sake, bitters, and charcoal over ice; strain into a cocktail glass; garnish as you see fit! (I suggest something fiery to stick with the charcoal theme.)

Cedar Shavings: 15/2

You’ve heard the term “barrel aged” thrown around with all sorts of spirits. Any alcohol that needs to age has to age in something, so why not make that thing a vessel that adds flavor and complexity to the end product? It’s a clever idea. But what if you want that barrel-aged goodness enhanced, or added to a non-barrel-aged bevvy? While your cool friend wasn’t hungover, he was reading up on the practice of adding cedar shavings to cocktails. Even as a garnish, the cedar shavings can give your drink a smoky undertone.

Some Canadians seem to have it down to an art. Assemble your own “Feather George” (created at the Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island) by procuring:

  • 1.5 oz. rye
  • .75 oz. vermouth
  • .25 oz. Giffard Abricot de Roussilon
  • two dashes orange bitters
  • mezcal rinse
  • cedar-smoked ice
  • cedar shavings

To prepare:

Stir together everything but the ice and shavings; rinse a short glass with the mezcal rinse; add the ice to the glass; strain the drink over the glass; add the cedar shavings.

Butter: 12/1

Spring is a lot warmer in some parts of the world than others. If you and your posse are still trying to fight off a chill, the hippest among you might be infusing his beverages with something to warm his insides. As all Americans – and also whales – know, the best way to stay warm is with an extra layer of insulation. Adding a little butter to your nightcap can help with that.

Bonus: your drink will taste like butter. Everything is better when it tastes like butter.

For the heretofore unbuttered, try this relatively simple hot spiced buttered rum concoction from Epicurious.


  • one tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 1.5 oz. golden rum
  • one tsp unsalted butter
  • boiling water

To prepare:

Fill a mug with the brown sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; add rum; add boiling water; add butter. Then add a layer of warmth by consuming on the reg!


(Featured image: Pixabay [public domain].)

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