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Most Intriguing Cocktails
Although it's quick and simple, a list can be just as educational as it is easy to read. That's the idea behind TravelsinTaste.com's new "Lists" feature, which includes lists of some of the country's most exciting food trends, innovative ingredients, unusual restaurants, intriguing cocktails and more. Our editors have scoured America's kitchens, markets and menus in search of the most up-to-date, unusual items for your reading -- and dining – pleasure, then published them in a convenient, easy-to-chew list format. Scan, savor and enjoy!

The original definition of ‘cocktail’ first appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository of 1806 as an editorial response. It stated that a “Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.” Nowadays, the definition of ‘cocktail’ has been broadened to include any alcoholic beverage containing spirits and non-alcoholic ingredients used to add flavor. The infinite possibilities this modern definition allows have always existed but it’s only been in the past decade or two that bartenders have really started getting creative with mixology, using ingredients that seem to have no business in a cocktail glass. Here are some modern cocktails, their ingredients, and where you’ll be able find it without getting strange looks.

6. Bourbonnais Swizzle
Death and Company, a New York City restaurant and lounge, offers a fairly extensive selection of original cocktails made with fine, exotic spirits and strange, yet oddly appropriate, ingredients. The Bourbonnais Swizzle is made with Toasted Pecan-infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon, White Créme de Cacao, Lillet Rouge, and fresh lemon juice. Warm, smooth, and complex, this cocktail makes a great accompaniment to chocolate-based desserts but can easily be enjoyed on its own.

5. Chadwick Mojito
Nacional 27 of Chicago, IL hosts a menu of 27 original cocktails created by mixologist Adam Seger. Six of those cocktails are variations on the classic mojito, the most intriguing of which is the Chadwick. Made with 10 Cane rum, mint, lime, pomegranate, and habanero peppers, this mojito is not for the faint of palate but proves to be sweet, sour, spicy, and unexpectedly refreshing.

4. 50 Carat
Vox Populi in Boston uses fruit juice and champagne in a number of their cocktails, making for sweetly light and elegant drinks. My personal favorite from their menu is the 50 Carat, made with Ciroc Snap Frost Vodka, Chambord, Formula 50 Vitamin Water (the namesake ingredient), white cranberry juice, champagne, and garnished with a stick of rock candy. Wonderfully sweet and smooth, it’s a challenge to keep from drinking this cocktail in a single gulp.

3. Peanut Brittle
This seasonal specialty can be found at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. This cocktail is a mixture of Ketel One vodka, Nocello Walnut liqueur, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Butterscotch Schnapps, peanut butter, simple syrup, and heavy cream, served in a peanut butter rimmed cocktail glass. Sweet, rich, creamy, and, of course, nutty, this is definitely not an all-night cocktail but works great with or for dessert.

2. Kennychi
Restaurant Eve, an upscale Alexandria, VA restaurant, focuses more on food than spirits but has a very nice selection of what they call ‘Edenesque Cocktails.’ The Kennyichi, as its name implies, is a Japanese-inspired cocktail made with Hachiya Persimmons, Liquor 43, Vanilla rum, and sparkling wine. Serenely aromatic and sweet, take a moment to breathe in this cocktail’s rich fragrance before enjoying.

1. Flawless
Movida, an upscale club based in London, has gained some notoriety by offering the world’s most expensive cocktail. At £35,000, this is absolutely not for the budget-conscious. Flawless is actually a fairly simple drink made with Louis XII cognac, Cristal Rose champagne, brown sugar, Angostura bitters, and 24-carat edible gold leaf. The bulk of the cost, however, is a result of the 11-carat white diamond ring that sits at the bottom of the glass.

Much evolved from the humble beginnings that only allowed for a few ingredients, the modern cocktail can be made with just about anything from hot peppers to peanut butter to jewelry. The next time you want to host a cocktail party, just have a look in your pantry. Maybe you’ll be inspired.

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