Are Mustard Drinks a Thing Now?
Grey Poupon wine and mustard-gin cocktails have arrived.
Mustard can be a controversial topic. Some think the condiment is abrasively sharp, the bright yellow a bit off-putting, and only use it for the occasional corndog. To others, myself included, mustard is something to obsess over and each version, whether dijon or whole grain, has its place in the kitchen. But does mustard have a place in cocktails and wine?
According to Shaun Stewart, a Baltimore-based bartender, the answer is yes. He first stumbled upon a mustard-infused cocktail at now-shuttered vegan Philadelphia bar, V Street, and has since become “minorly obsessed with it,” dubbing it the perfect ingredient to include in cocktails that can pair well with pickles and more savory foods.
“I didn’t want to go down the Bloody Mary route,” he says of developing his own mustard cocktail—aptly called Dijon-Vu—“but more of that savory cocktail that could work really well with food. It just started with gin and then I [included] turmeric and fennel and pretty much I made a super fancy vinaigrette that was used as my flavoring agent for the cocktail.” The Dijon-Vu is served at JBGB’s where it pairs perfectly with the cuts of meat coming out of the butcher shop.
“It makes sense with food. That’s literally what this cocktail’s made for. You can have it on its own and it’ll be a little abrasive and a little bit upfront, because it’s literally drinking mustard,” explains Stewart, who compares the Dijon-Vu to French’s (“but in the best way possible”). But, with food, the mustard cocktail is another harmonious component of a wonderful meal. “We do a housemade sausage that changes consistently and it’s funny that we’ll go through chorizo and rotwurst and all these different other flavors—the mustard always stands up to it.”
Stewart is not the only one looking to mustard for drink inspiration. Grey Poupon just recently debuted a white wine infused with mustard seeds, La Moutarde Vin, which serves as a nod to the white wine that’s used within the dijon mustard that gives it its signature rich flavor.
“When we first began development of La Moutarde Vin, we wanted to create a limited-edition white wine to celebrate the white wine used in our one-of-a kind Dijon recipe—in contrast to the majority of dijon mustards that use vinegar—and give people a reason to slow down and savor their meals,” says Danielle Coopersmith, a brand manager at Kraft Heinz. La Moutarde Vin was dreamt up in early 2021 and crafted in partnership with The Wine Foundry, a Napa Valley winery that specializes in customizable wines.
“In this wine making process, we allowed the Viognier ample hang time on the vine to develop full flavor and it was harvested at its peak. Once harvested, the grapes were pressed as soon as they arrived on the winery floor, and the juice was cold fermented in stainless steel until the wine achieved zero residual sugar,” Coopersmith explains. Following that, the wine was aged in stainless steel casks and Grey Poupon mustard seeds were added to imbue the wine with its herbaceous flavor. The result is a wine described as bright, with pronounced acidity as well as citrus and floral characteristics.
Similarly to Stewart, Coopersmith recommends the wine be enjoyed alongside foods that typically contain mustard or pair well with mustard—like a croque monsieur or charcuterie plate.
Does mustard have a bright future in the world of beverages—cocktails, wines, drinking vinegars, and more? Stewart says yes, but doesn’t believe mustard will be alone. “I think it will be straight condiments. That’s going to progress into more places that are finally going to try to bring a harmonious side between the back of the house, kitchen side, and then the bar side.” Stewart has his heart set on experimentations with Filipino banana ketchup and sweet chili sauce, because after a zippy mustard cocktail, the opportunities for new flavor combinations are boundless.
“We just have to figure out the food that's going to work,” he says. “The biggest thing that I hate when going out is when I have this amazing cocktail and this amazing meal and they don't pair really well together. That’s when we're going to start seeing more and more of that come into play.”