The beverage world will see a reemergence in banana flavors, predicts Eric Nakata, vice president of beverage innovation S&D Coffee & Tea. This renewed enthusiasm for banana may be related to growing interest in Latin American cuisine, which uses the banana-like plantain as a staple, or the trend toward plant-based and natural ingredients for elements like non-dairy milk alternatives (up 61 percent over the past 5 years, according to The Next Idea 2019 Restaurant and Food Forecast) that can be made from bananas. Here’s how cocktail creators are playing with everyone’s favorite smoothie addition behind the bar.
Somos in North Arlington, New Jersey shakes up a Have a Cigar cocktail with rye whiskey, lime, panela sugar, coffee, and cocoa bitters, while Death & Co. in Denver also mixes banana with rye and coffee in the Clay Pigeons cocktail featuring Benedictine liqueur and toasted cream.
In other cocktails, Denver’s Death & Co. employs rum with banana, like with the Lost Horizon cocktail that also features cognac and fernet and the Voodoo Dreams cocktail that combines Venezuelan rum with scotch, lemon, and banana. Likewise, Hinoki & the Bird in Los Angeles shakes up a banana and rum Locals Only cocktail which also employs Angostura bitters, coconut water, and citrus.
Hinoki & the Bird’s Sound Track to Summer uses tequila with banana, passionfruit, citrus, and bitters for a cocktail that evokes the tropics and showcases the unique flavor of passion fruit. Aiden Deirmenjian, bar manager, was looking for another fruit that would work with tequila and add an extra layer of complexity to the cocktail. Ripe banana was the perfect addition, as it brightens up passion fruit flavor.