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World's Weirdest Spirits

Posted: 09/02/11 04:14 PM ET

2011-08-25-smoked_salmon_vodka.jpgAn alcoholic yogurt liqueur, a bitter apéritif made from artichokes... how about a concoction featuring wood chips steeped in liquor that is touted as "Dominican Viagra"? It would be difficult to hear about such spirits and not wonder whether the world of bizarre booze is spiraling out of control.

Of course, some of the aforementioned spirits, like the vegetal Cynar, for example, are not new to the scene. Still, that its place behind the contemporary bar probably wouldn't surprise many is certainly worth noting. And beyond the comeback of retro-bizarre spirits, with modern mixologists slinging everything-but-the-kitchen-sink cocktails at top bars in the U.S., the hunt for the next hot trend in liquor has created some frankly unique creations. Such is the case with Root, an all-organic, botanical-loaded spirit with a storied past that has recently made a splash in the New York City bar scene.

Not too long ago, it seems, the prevalence of shock value-spirits was significantly less. Imbibers had relatively few choices on cocktail menus -- drink lists were streamlined, and standard: think gin and tonics, tropical takes on rum-based drinks like the piña colada, and combinations of vodka and fruit juice. Nowadays, though you likely won't find them on top bars' menus, when it comes to vodka, to say that some commercial brands have gone the way of the extreme -- with flavors like scorpion and smoked salmon -- would be a bit of an understatement.

- Alexis Korman, The Daily Meal

More from The Daily Meal:
12 Bars with Ridiculous Names
A Beginner's Guide to Aperitifs
6 Misleading Beverage Labels
What Your "Drink" Says About You on a Date
Drinks to Help Your Body Stay Cool

Cynar
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Forget steaming — why not try having your artichokes on the rocks? Named after the Latin for artichoke, Cynara scolymus, this bitter Italian apéritif is made from a blend of 13 herbs, and of course, the thorny thistle. For those who like the idea of a "spiked" artichoke, try Cynar the way the Swiss enjoy it, with orange juice; or in the French fashion, mixed with beer. Either way, drinking Cynar has got to count as getting your veggies... right?



Related: A Beginner's Guide to Aperitifs



Photo Credit: © Flickr/lisatozzi
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