When is a cocktail not a drink? When it’s a solid. Bartenders have long been the purveyors of liquid librations, but more and more bar menus now sport solid cocktails—drinks that you eat. And while any co-ed can tell you that semi-solid alcohol is nothing new (vodka spiked Jello-O shots have fueled many a college party), today’s bartenders take a decidedly more highbrow approach.
Many edible cocktails are, indeed, upgraded versions of the frat house favorite—using gelatin as a base to create a solid alcoholic suspension. New York’s davidburke & donatella
serves seasonal Pumpkin Pie and Candy Cane Jell-O shots made with ultra-premium Double Cross Vodka, served with dollops of Kahlua whipped cream. Out in California, Bar Nineteen 12
at the Beverly Hills Hotel offers a mojito sampler—of five different mojito “jelly shots,” from passionfruit to chocolate. (Martini popsicles appear elsewhere on the menu.) And Manhattan’s Benoit Bar,
as reported by the New York Times
, features a truly edible “cocktail” called the French Toast—a strawberry vodka and Chambord jam served with slices of baguette.
While gelatin is the simplest medium for edible alcohol, more technically inclined bartenders have drawn from molecular gastronomy in bringing chemistry to the kitchen. At Providence
in Los Angeles, Adrian Vasquez creates his solid “mojito spheres” with a little help from sodium hexametaphosphate. And Eben Freeman at Tailor
pairs his gelatin-based Cuba Libre (the name not just referring to its rum-and-coke composition, but its free-standing cube shape) with a Ramos Gin Fizz Marshmallow and the “White Russian Breakfast Cereal”—Rice Krispies infused with vodka and Kahlua along with cream and sugar.
Can cereal really be called a cocktail? Perhaps not. But one thing is clear—cocktails aren’t just for drinking anymore.