How to Mix the Perfect EVOO Cocktails

Shaken with the cocktail's ingredients, spritzed or dropped in a final touch, extra virgin olive oil is gaining traction among mixologists and bartenders.

Donna Elena
By Paolo DeAndreis
May. 10, 2022 14:09 UTC
Donna Elena

Mixologists are increas­ingly using extra vir­gin olive oil to cre­ate a new range of cock­tails for every taste and sea­son.

Over the past few years, craft­ing EVOO-based drinks has gone from being at the exclu­sive fore­front of inno­v­a­tive bar­tenders to rep­re­sent­ing a trend that involves an increas­ing num­ber of enthu­si­asts.

EVOO and that lemon base

In the last three years, we have been exper­i­ment­ing with high-qual­ity EVOOs and cock­tails,” Antonio Torrelli, the mixol­o­gist and bar man­ager at Il Frantoio restau­rant in Assisi, Italy, told Olive Oil Times. I would say a most reward­ing approach is to com­bine old-fash­ioned favorites, such as the unique fla­vors of lemon and EVOO.”

Doing so in a cock­tail, one can have a cit­rus base, low-alco­hol spir­its and a very high-end EVOO and cre­ate ever-chang­ing aro­mas,” he added.

See Also:Olive Oil Basics

That path was laid out sev­eral years ago by the London bar­tender Philip Hanson who made the rounds with The Oliveto, a cock­tail based on extra vir­gin olive oil mixed with gin, fresh lemon and egg white. The egg white is needed as EVOOs emul­sify with it and can blend with the other ingre­di­ents.

Lemon-based EVOO cock­tails have also been cre­ated by other inno­va­tors, includ­ing Valentina Bertello, a bar­tender at the Guerrini dal 1958 winebar. She shakes a mild extra vir­gin olive oil with gin, Campari, crème de cas­sis, lemon, pink grape­fruit juice and sage recipe.

One of Bertello’s rum-based cock­tails is served with a fin­ish­ing touch of EVOO, which is sprayed on the glass upon serv­ing.

See Also:Olive Oil Roasted Bloody Mary Mix

Kevin O’Connor, Cobram Estate’s chef-at-large, is another inno­va­tor in the EVOO cock­tail space. He shakes high-qual­ity EVOOs and lemon juice with Rye, Chamomile, honey and ice to pro­duce cock­tails, such as his Popeye’s Bride.

Fig & Olive, with loca­tions in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, boasts its name­sake drink by com­bin­ing cucum­ber-infused vodka, blood orange olive oil, egg white, sim­ple syrup, cel­ery, lime juice and blood orange purée. Fruits, sugar and fla­vored bit­ters are all excel­lent allies of olive oil-cen­tered cock­tails.

Since we were kids, our par­ents taught us that lemon and olive oils are a per­fect addi­tion for fish, mus­sels or clams,” Torrelli said. Today, we com­bine cold-pressed olive oil and cold-pressed lemon, adding some sweet and sour as a base to insert the dis­til­late, then sugar, salt, rose­mary and bal­samic vine­gar. There are so many pos­si­bil­i­ties.”

Mild EVOOs on a mild alco­holic base

Mixologists tend to pre­fer del­i­cate EVOO, as more robust EVOO notes of piquant and bit­ter­ness should not over­power the other ingre­di­ents.

We use sev­eral dif­fer­ent EVOOs, but one of the most inter­est­ing for us is the fruit of the San Felice olive tree cul­ti­var, grown in Umbria, which is round, smooth and fla­vored,” Torrelli said. To get the best results, you need fra­grance-rich and light EVOOs.”


Olive Oil Roasted Bloody Mary

For an enthu­si­ast explor­ing cock­tail-mak­ing, I would sug­gest start­ing with dis­til­lates that present an almost intan­gi­ble taste pro­file, such as vodka or gin,” he added. You need a mild alco­holic base.”

See Also:Rum Flip with Olive Oil Pickled Cherries

Vodka and EVOO have long been a field of research for mixol­o­gists. Recently a Ligurian Italian pro­ducer pre­sented Oolio, a vodka that sold with a touch of extra vir­gin olive oil dropped in.

Like most cock­tails focused on extra vir­gin olive oil, the vodka must be shaken just before con­sump­tion. This allows the EVOO to bet­ter mix with the other ingre­di­ents.

On the other side of the spec­trum, I am cur­rently exper­i­ment­ing to see if I can work with some­thing very dif­fer­ent, such as Bourbon, maybe fla­vor­ing it or trick­ing it on a sweeter note to let the extra vir­gin olive oil emerge,” Torrelli said.

See Also:In Italy, a New Beer Made from Olive Leaves

But for now, that is just a work in progress,” he added. For those who love drinks and are used to clas­sic ones such as a Martini cock­tail or a Manhattan, com­bin­ing olive oil with a dis­til­late is the best thing.”


Olive Oil Infused Gimlet

Experts explain that a com­plete EVOO cock­tail des­tined to be served in a glass to guests should be pre­pared and drunk soon after. Aspiring mixol­o­gists should not think of it as a pre­mix to serve at a later moment.

The rea­son is that those unique notes do not last long,” Torrelli said. That means that those cock­tails rep­re­sent a ready-made fresh drink meant to be con­sumed on the spot. You can not pre­pare that in advance.”

EVOO-based cock­tails to pro­mote EVOO cul­ture

High-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­ers are among the most active in spread­ing olive oil cul­ture.

Their goal is to inform con­sumers about high-qual­ity EVOOs, so they are rec­og­nized for their fla­vors, health ben­e­fits and spe­cial con­nec­tion with their ter­ri­tory of ori­gin.

Drinks are increas­ingly prov­ing to be a way to let cock­tail enthu­si­asts dis­cover the com­plex­ity and diver­sity of the EVOO world.

See Also:A Perfect Olive Oil Martini

EVOO cock­tails can help us reach younger gen­er­a­tions who are used to cock­tails but are often less atten­tive to extra vir­gin olive oil’s fla­vors and qual­i­ties,” Katy Lapini, the brand man­ager of Frantoio Pruneti in Tuscany, told Olive Oil Times.

Frantoio Pruneti man­ages a cock­tail lounge con­ceived to attract cock­tail enthu­si­asts for whom the com­pa­ny’s mixol­o­gists pro­vide a unique expe­ri­ence.

At first, we let them taste three mono­va­ri­etal EVOOs pro­duced with our Leccino, Moraiolo and Frantoio cul­ti­vars,” Lapini said. Afterwards, as they are now in the con­di­tion to explore those, we present them with a few cock­tails where our mono­va­ri­etals act as ingre­di­ents.”

See Also:On Table Olives and Cocktails

They learn that the aper­i­tif can be EVOO-based, as EVOO is in the drinks and is the basic ingre­di­ent of the fin­ger food that we offer them,” she added.

Lapini warned that it is impor­tant to enjoy EVOO-based cock­tails in mod­er­a­tion. However, she added most EVOO cock­tails have a low alco­hol con­tent, and their round­ness tends to sat­isfy the palate in one go.

On top of that, EVOO is fat,” she said. The main rea­son for eat­ing some­thing when we drink a cock­tail is because the food fat con­tents slow down the assim­i­la­tion of the cock­tail’s alco­holic com­po­nent.”

EVOO cock­tails as a before or after din­nersur­prise

Torrelli and many other mixol­o­gists work with EVOO cock­tails in restau­rants to present unusual, intrigu­ing and fresh fla­vors to guests approach­ing their din­ner or who have just fin­ished eat­ing.

In our restau­rant, I mostly pro­pose two cock­tails, before and after the meal, with this sec­ond one being slightly sweeter to bet­ter com­bine with an even­tual dessert,” Torrelli said. Both, though, are fresh cit­rus-based drinks, with bal­samic vine­gar, basil, rose­mary and salt, among oth­ers.”

See Also:Olive Oil Infused Gimlet

EVOO is inserted in the shaker for those cock­tails and goes in emul­sion, with a quan­tity that varies between eight to 10 mil­li­liters, which tend to remain amal­ga­mated in the glass.

As the time goes by, olive oil comes to the sur­face because it slowly sep­a­rates from the other con­tents, but it mixes so well with just a light stir,” Torrelli said. The glass gets coated by the halo of the EVOO when the drink is over.”

Proposing EVOO-based cock­tails to din­ner guests is yet to become main­stream, as most restau­rants focus more on wines.

But if you aim at a low-alco­holic open­ing cock­tail, fresh and fla­vored, you will see how even those guests, who are not used to drink­ing cock­tails, come to appre­ci­ate EVOO-based ones deeply,” Torrelli said.

Torrelli con­cluded his con­ver­sa­tion with Olive Oil Times by shar­ing his recipe for Donna Elena, which he rec­om­mends at Il Frantoio before din­ner, in a wide low cup with no ice.

Donna Elena

  • Extra vir­gin olive oil (10 ml)
  • London Dry Gin (30 ml)
  • Italicus Rosolio al Bergamotto (20 ml)
  • Home-made sweet and sour (60 ml)
  • Egg white (15 ml)
  • Basil leaves in emul­sion and fil­tered after­ward
  • Salt
  • Sprayed black-pep­per fla­vored Dry Vermouth

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