Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe
Squid ink, often used to flavor (and tint) pasta and risotto, can be intimidating enough to cook with. Making a cocktail with it is another beast entirely. But Sammy Faze, a bartender at the Drinkingbird and Billy Sunday, was—well, unfazed by the prospect of the challenge, which came from Michael Tsirtsis of Oak + Char. Faze describes squid ink as having a "very strong, fishy, oceanic aroma" that he decided to tame by making a sauce with onion, shallot, and garlic confit, cooked down with tomato puree and then combined with squid ink.
Searching for a spirit to cut through the squid ink and the aromatics in the sauce, Faze chose a malted aquavit from Bittermens that he says "almost drinks like a rye whiskey." It was a little too successful at masking the squid ink, though, so Faze used a little sake to bring back its oceanic flavor. A touch of lemon juice added brightness to the cocktail; for garnish he brushed a little squid ink onto a marigold to bring an oceanic aroma to the drink that he dubbed Ten Thousand Leagues. The finished cocktail is viscous and nearly black, and, Faze says, "you kind of feel like you're at the bottom of the ocean."