Pistachios aren’t just for ice cream anymore. Bartenders all around the country have discovered that the pale green goodness of the solid nut can be shaved into elegant curls for garnishing the rims of glassware or floated across a delicious concoction prepared with pistachio-infused liquor. Crush pistachios into granules for a crunchy rim decor on an exciting Emerald City Monk cocktail, says Keith Villaneuva of Atlanta. Sprinkle them across a mound of foam that tops a Cream of the Crop, comes a hint from the drink’s creator, Brian Means of San Francisco, who partners coconut pistachio puree with mezcal.
Pistachio enthusiasts like Mark Ahn (twitter.com) infuse the subtle flavor into liquors, and there are few limits on which liquor can be made better with extra flavor such as this. Bourbon, gin, sherry, cognac, vodka, whiskey, and rum are surprising examples of basic bartending nowadays when they gain the flavor of the versatile pistachio. Infusion may be time-intensive due to the technique of blending shelled pistachios with the desired liquor in a centrifuge, and bartender Jack Schramm places his Thundernut drink on the limited edition menu. When considering how pistachios can be infused and crushed or made into syrup, foams, and orgeat, it’s no wonder that the little green nuts deserve their day in the sun, even though that day consists of the pleasantly subdued light of a cocktail bar.