Serve up a Savory Sip for Happy Hour With This Turmeric Carrot Cocktail Recipe

Photo: Lori Sokolowski.
When San Diego-based mixologist Shelby Atkinson of the stylish Sycamore Den was looking for inspiration for the winter cocktail menu, she turned to her home kitchen. “I cook a lot, so I was inspired by seasonal flavors I use in my kitchen this time of year,” says Atkinson. “Root vegetables like carrots and warm spices such as turmeric and ginger came to mind instantly.” The result: the vibrant, surprisingly healthy Forbidden Root cocktail.

The drink gets its edge from a pairing of two clear spirits: vodka and aquavit, a spiced Nordic spirit that adds subtle notes of caraway and star anise. The bright color comes from turmeric juice, which adds more than an anti-inflammatory punch: The early flavor is making it a bartender favorite in cocktails around the country and the orange hue and subtle sweetness come from fresh carrot juice.

"The carrot juice is a mild, light ingredient that smooths everything out and holds all the other flavors together."

“A lot of people ask me about the carrot juice before ordering the drink,” says Atkinson. “They are understandably worried about it being overpowering, or making it taste too much like carrots. However, to me, the carrot juice is a mild, light ingredient that smooths everything out and holds all the other flavors together.”

Overall the drink has a slightly savory flavor that makes it unique and helps imbibers avoid the dreaded post-cocktail sugar crash.

Keep reading to learn how to make this turmeric-carrot cocktail at home.

Inside the Sycamore Den. Photo: Lori Sokolowski

Forbidden Root cocktail

Serves 1

2 Tbsp aquavit
1 Tbsp vodka
2 Tbsp fresh carrot juice
2 1/4 tsp ginger syrup
2 tsp fresh turmeric juice
1/2 tsp simple syrup
Fresh lemon slices and cilantro, for garnish

1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine aquavit, vodka, carrot juice, ginger syrup, turmeric, and simple syrup. Shake until chilled, pour into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon and cilantro.

Sycamore Den, 3391 Adams Avenue, San Diego, California 92116, 619-563-9019,

If you want more ways to get a turmeric fix at happy hour, try this ACV, bourbon and turmeric tipple alongside this turmeric-spiced popcorn.

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