Mix It Up: This Turmeric-Infused Cocktail Recipe is a Fun Way to Drink the Superfood of 2017

Learn how to make Mud Hen Water’s Vishnu’s Vice at home.

Editor’s note: Mix It Up is a new series where we feature the stories behind local cocktails and their recipes. Let us know what you think in the comments!


Turmeric cocktail
Photo: Jennifer Fiedler


Turmeric is having a bit of a moment. The golden-colored root, known as ‘ōlena in Hawaiian, has been featured in a handful of Bon Appétit recipes and was recently anointed by USA Today as the “superfood of 2017.” And it’s true: Most commonly found in Indian-style curries, turmeric has made the made the leap to smoothies, salads, juice and, now, cocktails.


SEE ALSO: Local Bartenders are Raising the Bar on Old-Fashioned Cocktails


We talked to Mud Hen Water bartender Kelly Jeffers about how uses the superfood in one of the restaurant’s newest drinks. “Chef Dave Caldiero came to me one day with a bag full of organic turmeric and said, make me a cocktail that takes us to East India,” Jeffers says about the story behind the striking orange-colored drink.


“[Turmeric] is kind of tricky to prepare and properly use in a way that makes for a well-balanced alcoholic drink,” he says, noting it took many trials to get the ratio and technique just right. “Don't prepare it properly and it can take on some unpleasant textures. Use too much and it can be overwhelming.”


But the result, which Jeffers has dubbed Vishnu’s Vice, is something truly unique. Fans of the classic Gimlet or Bee’s Knees will recognize the bones of the final version, which combines gin, honey syrup and lime juice—all before getting that defining hit of turmeric juice. Jeffers rounds out the presentation with a spritz of orange-blossom water for aroma and freshly ground pepper as a garnish.


“This drink complements our cuisine perfectly and has become extremely popular among our guests,” Jeffers says. “I see this cocktail staying on our menu for quite some time.”


You can check out the cocktail on the current drink menu at Mud Hen Water ($9), or make it yourself at home with this recipe:


Mud Hen Water’s Vishnu’s Vice

Serves 1

  • 2 ounces gin, such as Opihr

  • 1/2 ounce local honey syrup (see below)

  • 1/2 ounce juiced turmeric (see note)

  • 1/3 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice

  • 1 spritz of orange blossom water


Garnish: 1 pinch ground black pepper

Glassware: At the restaurant, Jeffers uses a rocks glass for the drink. A coupe, pictured above, will do in a pinch.


In a shaker with ice, shake the gin, juiced turmeric, honey syrup and lime juice until cold, around 30 seconds. Using an atomizer, mist the inside of a rocks glass with orange-blossom water, then strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish the drink with a pinch of ground black pepper on the top of the cocktail.


Honey Syrup

Makes just over 1/2 cup

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1/4 cup hot water

In a small, nonreactive container, stir the boiling water into the honey and mix until dissolved.


Note: At the restaurant, Jeffers makes his own turmeric juice. To make Jeffers’ juiced turmeric, peel organic turmeric, weigh it and blend it with water at a 1 part turmeric to 4.5 parts water. Strain the coarse fibers out with a mesh sieve. “I do this because it isnt as thick as just muddling it and it isnt as thin as running it through a juicer,” says Jeffers. “This method leaves just enough of the root in the solution to provide a pleasant texture, which means that, to keep the fibers from settling in the drink quickly, you have to shake this drink hard.”