Take a look at cocktail menus all around the city and you will notice one ingredient popping up everywhere: activated charcoal. Charcoal seems to be taking over, but why? “It looks cool and it’s an almost odorless additive that adds color so it’s easy to work with,” explains Angela Laino, a partner at Goodnight Sonny.
“Also, as more health conscious and holistic lifestyles become mainstream, more of these interesting medicinal ingredients are becoming mainstream as well,” adds Laino.
But while charcoal is used as a purified to draw impurities out of the body, it could be dangerous if ingested by people on certain medications or with conditions.
“People usually take activated charcoal internally which works in the gut to excrete toxins, as a medicinal treatment for an upset stomach,” explains Certified Integrated Health Coach Karen Malkin. “It will likely increase the toxins in alcohol, although there is very little research on this so it’s hard to say for sure.”
Laino echoes this sentiment. “I recommend consumers to do their own research or ask their doctor about any specific concerns,” says Laino. For the most part, the minimal amounts we use in cocktails would not have a negative effect, but like with everything else, moderation is key.”
The 5 Activated Charcoal Cocktails To Try Now in NYC
Once you know it’s safe, check out these tasty – and good looking! – activated charcoal cocktails are spots all around NYC.
Ashes to Ashes at Goodnight Sonny
Created by Goodnight Sonny partner Angela Laino, the Ashes to Ashes blends gin, rose syrup, fresh lemon juice, activated charcoal, organic aqua fava and is garnished with rose petals. 134 First Ave., 646-692-3254, www.goodnightsonnynyc.com
Black Tie White Noise at Beauty & Essex
Head to the Lower East Side and check out the activated charcoal concoction at Beauty & Essex, made with Gentleman Jack, Bruichladdich Port Charlotte scotch, simple syrup, lemon, yellow chartreuse, Angostura bitters and one capsule of activated charcoal, served up in a coupe. 146 Essex St., 212-614-0146, www.beautyandessex.com
Fade to Black at David Burke Kitchen
This cocktail is made by first creating the Starr Black Rum, made by dissolving a tablespoon of raw activated charcoal powered in a bottle of Starr Ultra Superior Light rum. Once ready, the rum is mixed with ginger syrup, lemon and lime juices and simple syrup in a shaker while the chartreuse is ignited with a flame in a different glass. It’s all blended then garnished with a sprig of rosemary. Definitely worth the wait. 23 Grand St., 212-201-9119, www.davidburkekitchen.com
Batman at JIMMY at The James
The brainchild of mixologist Johnny Swet, the Batman cocktail mixes Blackwell rum with activated charcoal, pineapple juice, lime juice and agave served over crushed ice and garnished with grilled pineapple chunks and mint. Sweet and refreshing, plus it’s super cool looking. 15 Thompson St., 212-201-9118, www.jimmysoho.com
The Fainter Heart at The John Lamb
We recently did a cocktail tour of the newly opened The John Lamb, and the Fainter Heart was one of the standouts. Made with Leblon cachaça infused with licorice root, Cynar, Bruto Americano and activated charcoal, it’s boozy and bitter and has a captivating deep hue. 120 Allen St., 212-392-4244, www.thejohnlamb.com
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