This is an electrifying cocktail that will surely tease your taste-buds and tantalize your senses!
Justin of Marx Foods contacted us right before we left for Boston, wondering if we would be up for trying out a couple of their products, in particular black garlic and the mysterious Szechuan (Sechuan) Buttons. We are always up for trying something new out and especially something we have never heard of, such as the Szechuan Button. Now, I did not know much about them but once I started investigating, my interest was peeked, especially when the package they came in said, “eat at your own risk”.
A bit about the Szechuan Button (taken from the Marx Food site) – “they are an unusual food in that their primary use is not nutrition or flavor but rather to impart a sensation to food and drink. They possess a slightly bitter, herby flavor that isn’t unusual, but a few seconds after consuming them something very interesting begins to happen in your mouth! Eating a few tiny petals from a Szechuan button will lead to a tingling sensation, almost like mild voltage or bubbles from an effervescent beverage popping on the tongue. It is similar to (but much more intense than) the tingling imparted by Szechuan peppercorns, which is how this flower gets its Chinese name, despite originally being from Africa. Part of the secret of this effect may be that these flowers contain a natural painkiller sometimes used to numb toothache (hence their other nickname: toothache plant). It is not unpleasant, but surprising, and sharing just a small pinch with friends will cause a look of confused wonder.”
I had a few ideas but the first that came to mind was to make a fun cocktail. Being the holidays I knew a bottle of bubbly would be involved. As well I had some Pomegranate Simple Syrup that I wanted to use, mostly for color, but also for a bit of tartness. I gently floated the Szechuan Button petals on the top of the cocktail and with every sip, a few of the delicate petals flowed into your mouth – let’s say there was definitely a party happening in your mouth! Not only did you get the sweet champagne bubbles on the tip of your tongue but there was an electrifying zippy feeling from the petals. A very fun cocktail to serve to the unexpected as they will be wowed! Would I use them again – definitely! I am already thinking of other recipes to use them in!
Recipe: Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail with Szechuan Buttons
1 tablespoon pomegranate simple syrup
1 glass of champagne
1/2 teaspoon szechuan button petals
Pour the simple syrup into a champagne glass. Lightly drizzle the champagne into the glass, do not disturb the simple syrup and do not stir. Sprinkle the petals over the top. Serve. Drink.