The Salty Ingredient Your Low-Abv Cocktails Are Missing

One of the more positive trends of recent years has been a decrease in alcohol consumption as more and more people are choosing to cut down on their drinking. Whether your primary concern is your health or your finances, though, you can still save money and benefit your body even if you don't fully embrace sobriety. Instead, you can make one simple switch: just reduce the booze content of your drinks.

There are a number of different methods of making low-ABV cocktails. One way is to simply use less alcohol. If a recipe calls for two ounces of vodka, just use one ounce instead, or make an upside-down cocktail by reversing the proportions of the higher and lower ABV spirits (for example, using more vermouth than gin in a martini). Another is to base the cocktail on sake, sherry, or wine instead of hard liquor, while a third involves mixing hard seltzer or a canned cocktail with fruit juices or other non-alcoholic mixers. This way, you can stretch a six-pack to make a dozen or more drinks. If you find that your low-ABV cocktails are a bit lacking in flavor, though, there is one ingredient you can add (instead of more booze) to give them a little more complexity: a tincture of salt.

Salt tincture can enhance a drink's flavor

While a tincture might sound like something you'd concoct in chemistry class, salt tincture is really nothing more than a savory version of simple syrup. To make it, the makers of Spiritless zero-proof whiskey and tequila suggest mixing four parts of water with one part salt, then letting the solution sit until the salt dissolves (stirring or shaking will help, as well). Add it to your drinks with a dropper, since salt is something that's best in small doses.

So why would you want to add salt to your cocktail, and what types of drinks work well with a salty infusion? Salt is highly recommended for drinks that involve any bitter elements because it helps to balance out the flavor. This is why margaritas have salted rims; it helps counteract the taste of the tequila and keeps it from overwhelming the notes of orange and lime. Salt can also enhance sweeter drinks, as well — try a few drops in a low-ABV mojito, Moscow Mule, or strawberry daiquiri to really bring out the flavor. You may find that salt tincture is just the secret ingredients these drinks need to keep them from saccharine insipidity, especially once you reduce the booze.