Does it suddenly seem like you're seeing turmeric on just about every menu, whether you're at a café or a neighborhood bar? That's because turmeric is in this summer, in a big way. Usually cocktail trends and coffee-shop trends are pretty distinct -- bright-blue cocktails have hardly made their way over to the espresso bar! But in the last few months, turmeric has found its way into cafés and cocktail bars alike.
Called a "superfood," turmeric is touted for its health benefits -- some proven, some less so. But it's also become a recent cocktail darling for its distinctive bright-gold color and its pronounced warm, earthy flavor.
You'll find turmeric juice at just about every modern-day juice bar or smoothie shop, whether incorporated in juice blends or served as little shots of the pure stuff. Turmeric is incorporated in the Golden Milk Latte from Baba Cool in Fort Greene, Brooklyn -- espresso, coconut milk, and maple, with turmeric providing a bit of a bite, backed up by ginger and black pepper. Northern California's Smitten Ice Cream is riffing off the idea of turmeric in tea with a spice-rich, ginger-infused ice cream flavor "Turmeric Gold Latte."
And then, there are cocktails. Here, too, the vivid gold hue is an asset; and bartenders, of course, love rich, earthy flavors -- the more unusual, the better. At the Royal Hideaway Playacar on the Riviera Maya, you've got the vibrant cocktail Turmradish: muddled radish and turmeric with the smoky agave spirit mezcal. At the Kimpton Seafire in Grand Cayman, it's the "Recharge, Reset," a refreshing cocktail with Hendricks Gin, Lillet Blanc, and cucumber juice, with the addition of turmeric juice and lime.
Away from the beaches, Victor Tangos in Dallas, Texas, highlights the "Lunar Eclipse," bright orange-gold as can be, with turmeric-infused vodka, fresh carrot juice and lemon. The “Turmeric Fizz” at Prohibition in Vancouver is another golden-hued cocktail, combining turmeric with Casadores Resposado tequila, Dry Vermouth, local honey and a splash of lemon and orange juice. And bars even feature turmeric in non-alcoholic drinks; in New York, the bar Sidepiece, at the Hell's Kitchen's outpost of the Meatball Shop, creates a turmeric soda, made from raw, fresh turmeric root.
Lattes, sodas, cocktails, juices -- we don't see turmeric disappearing anytime soon.
[Photo: Golden Milk Latte at Baba Cool | Credit: Ethan Covey]