In the eyes of many, the sight of a salad doesn’t usually get the taste buds jumping with excitement. But as 2018 has approached us with a bunch of health-centric trends, the urge to eat greens and follow a veggie-centred lifestyle may have inevitably kicked in a few times.

Unsplash/Juan Gomez

Truth be told, it’s reasonable to have greens. And if you ask us, it is also acceptable to indulge in the green bowl, but in a fun way. So, how about adding a touch of bourbon instead of lime juice? Or a splash of tequila instead of soy sauce? Adding amber spirits to your greens is really a way to amp up your salad game while also not drowning your veggies in just another humdrum vinegar and oil mixture. Though there are many versatile bottled dressings convenient for any household to own and buy, there’s simply nowhere where you can buy a booze-infused dressing. Therefore, it’s high time we switch things up and opt for the homemade versions that are a breeze to whip up from just a few ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.

For those who have been on a big salad kick, we’ve curated a list of three sumptuous recipes for boozy umami-packed dressings simply so you can add a bit of a pop to your salad night or weekend meals. The symphony of spirits, olive oil, and the bright acid will create perfect, delectable contradictions that you’ll want to drizzle all over everything — namely salads, grilled veggies, meat entrees, and even over pasta or in sandwiches.

Featured image credit: Unsplash/Stefan Johnson; hero image credit: Unsplash/rawpixel

Unsplash/Piotr Miazga

Bourbon Vinaigrette Dressing

What you need: 

    • ¼ cup bourbon
    • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
    • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped basil leaves
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
    • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • ¾ cup olive oil
Unsplash/Nick Bratanek

How to: 

  1. Whisk together the minced shallot, chopped basil leaves, bourbon, apple cider vinegar, and honey or sugar.
  2. Put your oil in a measuring cup just so that it’s easier to slowly drizzle it into the prepared mixture.
  3.  Remember you are combining oil and water together. So to avoid the splitting, gradually drizzle in the oil to the bourbon mixture while whisking constantly until your dressing thickens.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper. Taste before serving just in case the dressing needs more seasoning — or another splash of bourbon.

Enjoy this: on tender-leaf greens like baby spinach, dandelion, arugula, or watercress and let the bourbon bring unexpected caramel-y and oaky notes to the dish. It will also enhance the flavours of your greens with its bittersweet taste. Simply sprinkle in some cooked grains, walnuts and seeds like sesame or pumpkin to give hearty bites to your bowl. And there you have it, a complete meal comprised of fresh greens, grains, and liquid gold.

Unsplash/Jacalyn Beales

Vodka Salad Dressing

What you need: 

      • 3 tablespoons vodka
      • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
      • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
      • 3/4 cup olive oil
Unsplash/foodfaithfit

How to: 

  1. Add everything except for olive oil into your bowl and give it a good whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Slowly pour in your olive oil and whisk vigorously until the mixture thickens and perfectly combines.
  3. Lastly, season the dressing generously with salt for the rounded taste of the dressing.

Enjoy this: on a watermelon salad. You simply can’t go wrong with vodka and watermelon — they’re truly a match made in heaven. Or simply enjoy this dressing on oysters. Vodka dressing is also a toothsome pairing with steak. The thick, acidic delicacy can be used as a bland protein’s flavour enhancer.

Unsplash/fifernando

Tequila Lemon Salad Dressing
(Adapted from Vianney Rodriguez‘s dressing recipe)

What you need: 

      • 2 tablespoon tequila
      • 1 tablespoon honey or granulated sugar
      • 3 tablespoons lemon (or lime) juice
      • A fistful of minced cilantro
      • ¼ cup olive oil
      • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

How to: 

  1. Whisk together lemon juice, honey or sugar, and tequila to combine. If you use sugar, whisk rather vigorously until the fine crystal pearls dissolve.
  2.  Slowly drizzle the oil to the mix while whisking quickly until the dressing thickens.
  3.  Sprinkle in the minced cilantro and stir gently until everything combines.
  4. Lastly, season it to your liking with salt and pepper and voila! You’ve got yourself a tequila salad dressing.

Enjoy this: on a bed of mixed watery crisp salad leaves with a sprinkling of diced bright fruit like mango, strawberry or Granny Smith apples. Avocado chunks will also give that luscious creaminess that will go unbelievably well with the pungent smell and the oaky sweet taste of the tequila, too.

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.