Summer is here, so it’s time to stock up on burgers, hot dogs, and beers. Ingredients such as fresh tomatoes, peaches, watermelon, corn, and cucumber exemplify summer in many ways, from cocktails to entrees to desserts.
While these traditional ingredients will remain essential, emerging international flavors are catching the attention of chefs, craft cocktail makers, and consumers looking to add something different to their warm-weather indulgences that peak during the summer. This is according to Insight from Global Symrise, a global flavor, fragrance, and nutrition specialist.
Fruit-Based Novelty Cocktails for the Summer
There aren’t many summer drinks more iconic than a cool lemonade or horchata enjoyed after a hot day outdoors.
Lemon and lime are fruits found in many summer drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, and they are used as the main ingredient or a garnish to add a splash of brightness to cocktails.
The use of citrus has evolved beyond garnishes. Bartenders make more complex cocktails that combine herbs such as cilantro and oregano with lemon to create flavorful drinks that pair well with mild cheeses.
Moreover, an emerging fruit replaces the common citruses seen as favorites on bar menus.
It is the rangpur lime, originally from Rangpur, Bangladesh. It is a small, tart, orange fruit cross between a tangerine and a lemon and is used as a substitute for lime in iced tea and craft cocktails such as margaritas and gin fizzes.
Other Ways to Sweeten Traditional Summer Dishes
A warm ear of corn on the cob is a summertime treat, especially slathered in butter and grilled to bring out its natural sweetness. Or, Mexican-style, topped with mayonnaise and chili powder.
An even sweeter corn alternative appearing on menus is purple corn, available in the summer months and originates in South America. Its vivid color is often highlighted in drinks and desserts, especially in Peruvian cuisine, such as mazamorra morada pudding that combines sweet purple corn with fruits like pineapple, apple, and guava, and the sweet drink, chicha morada.
For those looking to enjoy healthier desserts this summer and trying to avoid processed sugar, an emerging natural sugar ingredient is palm sap sugar derived from the flower buds of the coconut palm.
While it does not taste much different than white or brown sugar, palm sugar contains less glucose and has a lower glycemic index than table sugar and honey. It is used as a sugar to create desserts such as ice cream and puddings or sweetness to cocktails and tea.
International Herbs Making a Statement
The presence of condiments such as hot sauces, along with ketchup and mustard, is vital at picnics. Still, consumers continue to expand their palates and seek out international flavors to add more depth to their typical summer fare.
Originating in Yemen, Zhoug, the coriander-based sauce, is spicy, fragrant, and called the “pesto of the Middle East” for its versatility.
Zhoug has gained popularity outside Middle Eastern cuisine as a condiment for hot dogs, pasta, and fish dishes whenever the consumer wants to add a little herbal spice flavor.
Another emerging herbal addition for summer is the herb hoja santa, also known as pepper leaf. The heart-shaped leaves of this herb are widely used in traditional recipes in Central and South America.
The summer of 2021 opens up many possibilities for consumers eager to get back to “normal,” to have their favorite dishes, but with novel flavors that inspire and delight.