If you're looking for a way to make yogurt a little fancier, you could go for a classic yogurt parfait. Or you could take a slightly more adult route by making yourself a yogurt cocktail. Yes, you can make a cocktail with yogurt and turn your boozy breakfast cocktail into a full-on, healthy meal. (OK, maybe just healthy-ish. But still.) Adding yogurt to cocktails is an idea that's been floating around for a while, as a way to add body and lift to a cocktail like egg whites but without the foam. And Julian Cox, the beverage director at Chicago's Ema, takes full advantage of the benefits of mixing yogurt and booze have with his blueberry and Greek yogurt-flavored cocktail Balm.com.
"What originally gave me the idea for this cocktail is that the flavors reminded me of all the components of breakfast," explains Cox in an email. It doesn't hurt that Ema's chef CJ Jacobson makes Greek yogurt in-house, so Cox had easy access to the good stuff.
The beauty of the Balm.com is that it's a light and refreshing drink, even though it's made with yogurt. And there's no need to worry about the dairy reacting badly with the alcohol, maybe causing some separation or curdling, because the drink is emulsified. "We take all the ingredients, whip them together," inside the cocktail, Cox explains, "and you get a nice homogeneous flavor."
The yogurt gives an airy texture to the smoothie-looking drink. There's also lemon balm in the drink and served as a garnish, which "gives it a nice lemongrass-like aromatic touch," explains Cox. You could even go as far as argue that this blueberry-yogurt cocktail a good hangover cure. "Because of the coconut water," in the house-made blueberry syrup, "the cocktail has electrolytes and is low in sugar," says Cox—and really, is there a better breakfast than one you can drink?
Ema's Balm.com Greek Yogurt and Blueberry Cocktail
- Yields: 1 cocktail
Add lemon balm to bottom of a Collins glass and muddle.
Add all ingredients to a tin bar shaker, and dry shake to incorporate ingredients and emulsify.
Fill Collins with crushed ice and strain whipped cocktail into glass. Swizzle, and add more crushed ice.
Garnish with fresh lemon balm and ras el hanout spice.
To make the Rich Coconut Blueberry Syrup
Combine ingredients and blend to incorporate. Allow to sit for an hour to marry. Blend again and strain.