The fact that a mushroom-flavored liqueur exists is not surprising. In an age of bottled “unicorn tears” and vodka made to taste like electricity, there are many strange, eye-catching bottles filling liquor store shelves. The surprising thing about this mushroom liqueur, though, is that it is good—great, actually, to the point where the distillery has a hard time keeping up with the demand.
Made by Tamworth Distillery (a locally-focused New Hampshire distillery founded by Steven Grasse—the man behind Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum), the Art in the Age Black Trumpet Blueberry Cordial is a blend of wild blueberries, foraged black trumpet mushrooms, and touches of lavender and lemon verbena. Why blend two seemingly unrelated ingredients together? They happen to be in season at the exact same time. Luckily, they’re also delicious together—dark, jammy and decadently rich.
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“If I didn’t tell you there was mushroom in there, you wouldn’t know it,” says Allison Kave, co-owner of Butter & Scotch in Brooklyn. “I think of it in the way red wines have this musty, umami depth. It’s a similar thing [with the mushrooms]. They give [the cordial] some body and complexity.” While some folks would blanch at the idea of a sweet mushroomy spirit, Kave was open-minded and curious when it was first put in front of her. As a bartender-slash-baker she has seen plenty of mushroom desserts in her career. “I had a familiarity with mushrooms in non-savory applications,” she says. So far, Kave and her team of bartenders have used the cordial in two different but equally successful cocktails. The And You Get a Car (pictured below) mixed it with elderflower liqueur, Bols genever, pineapple juice, lime and cinnamon syrup. “It tasted like a blueberry pie,” Kave says, and it was appropriately garnished with a diamond of baked pie crust. The other cocktail was simply titled with three emojis: corn, eggplant and banana (all allusions to a certain part of the male anatomy). It mixed the cordial with vodka, roasted corn syrup, lemon juice and seltzer (pictured above).
But those aren’t the only uses she’s found for the cordial. “I think that it goes really well with every kind of spirit,” she says. “It’s good with bourbon, good with tequila, good with gin—I also really like it with sherry.” For home bartenders, she recommends swapping it in for simple syrup or agave syrup in Sours like Margaritas.
Since the cordial is seriously seasonal, Kave does run out of it on occasion. “It’s a bit of a balancing act,” she says. “But it’s worth it.” If you see it on a shelf, ignore your mushroom-phobia (we swear, even if you’re the type who thinks putting mushrooms on pizza is a sin, you’ll love it) and pick it up. A 375-ml bottle costs about $40, but don’t worry. As Kave says, this is not something you dump into a punch. It’s small, but mighty—and it’s a fun way to freak out your friends before totally blowing their minds.