Some classic drink combinations seem so made for each other as to prohibit tinkering: gin and tonic, for example, even rum and coke. Yet event the best recipes can benefit from some spicy stirring up. Enter Boeing procurement manager Eric Salenski and software salesman and consultant Matt Hemeyer with their startup, Addition (drinkaddition.com), to add what some cocktail lovers have been subconsciously longing for: a savory kick. The additions are alcoholic tinctures (around 45 percent alcohol by volume) used in a manner akin to bitters but instead of the traditional bittering, these deliver add-in flavors of nearly the entire spice rack. Handcrafted in Georgetown, the Addition tinctures come in 25 variations (including Szechuan pepper, jalapeño, clove and star anise). So, you can, at last, add Thai green chili and tarragon to a whiskey ginger—trust us, it’s a bizarrely good pairing. We also like the rosemary and cardamom twist on the classic G&T, and the mere suggestion of curry with a peaty scotch got our taste buds salivating.
“We initially considered opening a distillery, but you can only have so many local vodkas and whiskeys,” Hemeyer says. “We wanted to add something new this city’s drinks.”
The keen observer will note that flavor staples such as mint, basil and ginger don’t appear on Addition’s long list of available spices, and it’s a testament to Hemeyer and Salenski’s quality control that these flavors are not—yet—produced. Flavors that are made with delicate herbs tend to stay on the cutting block for a while longer. Getting the first 25 spices exactly how they wanted them took more than a year. “I sacrificed nights at a local craft cocktail bar, asking the bartender to lay out glass after glass, teaching me the ins and outs of the discreet flavors of gins and whiskeys,” Hemeyer said. The pair has plenty of experience in home brewing and wine collecting—their business partnership is based in an appreciation of interesting and novel beverages—and so they’re no strangers to combining art and science to create a worthy taste experience.
After creating their line of cocktail-specific additions, a friend dabbed some of the Jalapeño Cocktail Spice into a can of beer, setting a new course for the company. Being beer connoisseurs themselves, they well understood that with mass-produced domestics, affordability, not flavor, is not the primary factor. So they put together a trio of Beer Sauces with smoke and spice to dress up lackluster cans of PBR and Bud. While they discourage using the beer sauce in the craft brews, nothing is really off-limits.
These spices are not only for cocktails. As Salenski has advised, rosemary and clove are welcome additions to a simple glass of seltzer. And though the tinctures have alcohol in them, the amount in a few drops is negligible.
We’re happy to say that the new spice road is here and it’s leading us to drinks unexplored.
Cocktail Spice, $20 per 4-ounce bottle, available at Savour in Ballard (2242 NW Market St.; 206.789.0775; savourspecialtyfoods.com) and Picnic in Phinney Ridge (6801 Greenwood Ave. N.; 206.453.5867; picnicseattle.com). Beer Sauce, $12/bottle, available at Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown (5909 Airport Way S; 206.736.2079; fullthrottlebottles.com) and the Lake City Beer Authority (12716 Lake City Way NE; 206.417.9629; seattlebeerauthority.com) Wine World (400 NE 45th St.; 206.402.6086; shop.wineworldspirits.com)
Drink Addition Recipes
Note to home mixologists: One “blast” equals a dropper-full of the flavored Addition.
Coke with Clove
1 can of Coke
1 blast of Clove Cocktail Spice
Put in ice-filled glass or drink out of the can
1 ice-filled glass of sparkling water
3–4 drops Rosemary Cocktail Spice
Garnish with cucumber
Apple Cider and Cinnamon
1 pint of Apple Cider (hard or virgin)
½ blast of Clove Cocktail Spice
1 blast of Cinnamon
1 ice-filled rocks glass
3 blasts of Curry Cocktail Spice
2 ounces Scotch
Top with soda water
1 ice-filled highball glass
1 blast Rosemary Cocktail Spice
3 blasts Szechuan Pepper
2 ounces Gin
Top with tonic
1 ice-filled rocks glass
2 blasts Tarragon Cocktail Spice
2 blasts Thai Green Chili
2 ounces Whiskey
Top with quality ginger beer