Three Unexpected Grocery Store Cocktail Ingredients | Wine Enthusiast
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Three Unexpected Grocery Store Cocktail Ingredients

You don’t need trendy hopped grapefruit bitters, Chartreuse or amaro to make great cocktails. In The One-Bottle Cocktail: More than 80 Recipes with Fresh Ingredients and a Single Spirit (Ten Speed Press, 2018), none of the recipes included require so much as vermouth. Instead, popular spirits like gin, Tequila or rye are brightened with grocery store staples. Discover how overlooked ingredients like Greek yogurt, arugula and dates can change your drinking life.


A hint of pepper, plus a flash of spice. Sure, there are artisanal bitters you can use, but how about a handful of arugula leaves shaken vigorously with lime, fennel and herbal gin? The pungent greens can help tamp down a cocktail’s sweetness, too.

Recipe: Gin Rocket

Courtesy Kate Bolton

  • ¼ cup thin-sliced fennel
  • 1 pinch fennel fronds
  • ¼ cup packed arugula leaves
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces gin

In cocktail shaker, muddle thin-sliced fennel, pinch fennel fronds, arugula leaves, ounce lime juice and ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water). Add gin, and fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. Double-strain into chilled coupe. Garnish with lime wheel, arugula leaf or nasturtium.

Greek Yogurt 

A single teaspoon won’t turn your cocktail into a smoothie. Greek yogurt provides a subtle tang that’s more delicate than lemon or lime.

Recipe: Slippery When Wet 

Courtesy Shannon Tebay Sidle

  • 1 large or 2 small strawberries
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce honey
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Greek yogurt

In cocktail shaker, muddle strawberries, lemon juice and honey. Add gin and a heaping teaspoon Greek yogurt. Fill with ice, and shake until well chilled. Fill rocks glass with crushed ice, then double-strain cocktail into it. Grind black pepper on top. Add strawberry slice for garnish.


Granulated sugar can balance a drink’s tartness, but other ingredients, like pitted dates, offer more complex taste. A brief muddle will release even more caramel and malty flavors.

Recipe: Last Night In Peru

Courtesy Alex Fletcher

  • 4 dried pitted dates into quarters
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
  • 2 ounces pisco
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white

Slice 4 dried pitted dates into quarters. Muddle with lime juice in cocktail shaker. Add pisco, simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and egg white. Shake until emulsified, about 20 seconds. Add ice, and shake vigorously until very well chilled. Don’t quit early! Double-strain into a chilled coupe glass. Squeeze orange twist gently over glass to express oils, and use as garnish.