red bell peppers
Red bell peppers. Photo courtesy of Elizabethtrittipo.

There’s much more to mixology than simply combining spirits and soda. In fact, there are many creative bartenders around the world experimenting with innovative drink recipes, from libations made with meats to using ingredients like camel’s milk, caviar powder and vinegar to create unusual cocktails. One mixologist in particular who loves experimenting with out-of-the-box ingredients is Miami-based Marcus Wade of MC Kitchen Miami. He’s shared with us some of his latest favorite ingredients for mixing drinks, how uses them and why.

Unusual Ingredient: Red Bell Peppers

Cocktail: Tommy Pickles

Made With: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IP, Brooklyn Brine Company Pickles, Bell Pepper, Onion and Cascade Hops

Notes: I truly love the taste of all peppers in general, but the red bell pepper is very special. It’s has a delicate balance of sweet and heat. This ingredient really compliments the beer, the natural whole leaf hops, the brined pickles and onions. Layering flavor is a must when creating a perfect cocktail or infusion. Red bell peppers are great for creating balance.

Unusual Ingredient: Salmon Roe

Cocktail: Loki’s Quarrel

Made With: Dogfish Head Saison Du Buff, Meyer Lemon, Cucumber and Alaskan Caviar

Notes: This cocktail was inspired by a Norse mythological story about a quarrel between Thor and Loki. For some time, I’ve been playing with the idea of infusing beer with cucumber and meyer lemon. My father unfortunately passed away years ago and he always added salt to his beer. I realized the cucumber and meyer lemon infusion needed salt. In the myth, Loki changes into a salmon to hide from Thor. Salmon roe would add the perfect touch of salt. The roe is a perfect complement to the cucumber and Meyer lemon infusion.

sweet corn
Sweet corn. Photo courtesy of Robert Couse-Baker.

Unusual Ingredient: Florida Sweet Corn

Cocktail: Pachamama

Made With: Capurro Pisco, Florida Sweet Corn, Redland Strawberries, Molle Berries and Oregano

Notes: Sweet corn is the heart and soul of our Pachamama. I based this cocktail on the traditional Peruvian corn fermented beverage “Chicha”. Although several different variatels of corn are used from region to region in Peru, MC Kitchen always attempts to support local farmers first. Florida sweet corn is quite frankly amazing. I wouldn’t choose to use anything else.

Unusual Ingredient: Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup

Cocktail: Galen’s Peach,

Made With: Hangar 1 Chipotle Vodka, Meyer Lemon, Brooklyn Brine Company Maple Bourbon Bread & Butter Pickles and Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup

Notes: I had a jar of Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup sitting on my desk at MC Kitchen for some time. I had always considered using ketchup as a replacement for tomato juice in a Bloody Mary. I opened the jar and was astounded by the color- it was blood red. I remembered an old folklore about tomatoes being poisonous to humans around 200 AD. The legend talks of tomatoes being called “wolf’s peaches”. People would tomatoes to bait and poison werewolves. I immediately took the jar to the bar and began experimenting and Galen’s Peach was born. The sweetness of the product and blood red color is the perfect complement to the spice of the Hangar 1 Chipotle Vodka, meyer lemon juice and maple bourbon pickle juice.

Brooklyn Brine Company making their pickles. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Bring Company.

Unusual Ingredient: Brooklyn Brine Company Pickles

Cocktail: Tommy Pickles and Galen’s Peach

Made With: Tommy Pickles- Dogfish Head 60 Minute IP, Brooklyn Brine Company Pickles, Bell Pepper, Onion and Cascade Hops. Galen’s Peach- Hangar 1 Chipotle Vodka, Meyer Lemon, Brooklyn Brine Company Maple Bourbon Bread & Butter Pickles and Sir Kensington’s Classic Ketchup.

Notes: I read an article about Shamus Jones, the owner of Brooklyn Brine Company and discovered the artistry and passion behind the pickling process. Shamus’ passion inspired me and I decided to give him a call as I was eager to work with his product. A couple of days later, I discovered a shipping palette of Brooklyn Brine Company products at the restaurant’s back door. I was blown away and knew I had to experiment and try every single product.

Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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