It’s duck à l’Orange, in liquid form.

Made with a pinch of fleur de sel, mezcal infused with duck fat, Cointreau and a house-made orange and sage shrub, the cocktail — dubbed The Decoy — heralds a new ‘flavor frontier’ among the hippest bars and restaurants across the US, reported industry publication Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) July 29.

Invented by ‘mixtress’ Gina Chersevani, of restaurant PS7 in Washington DC, The Decoy cocktail embodies the first of three emerging trends in the beverage world, as highlighted at a premier beverage festival, Tales of the Cocktail, that wrapped up in New Orleans last week.

The use of herbs in mixed drinks, for example, has become increasingly popular, Chersevani told NRN. But different herbs require different types of handling. Professional mixologists know, for example, that hard herbs like thyme and rosemary can be handled more roughly than soft herbs like basil or mint.

Salt has also become a mixologist’s secret ingredient. Just as a pinch of salt is used to bring out the flavors in baking, a dash of salt can likewise add depth to savory cocktail.

Another emerging trend is the use of specialty vinegars like coconut, mango and maple-based flavors in place of traditional acids like freshly-squeezed lemon or lime.

Kelley Slagle of Hearth Restaurant in New York, for instance, adds a fennel and white wine vinegar to her Manhattans — made with whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters — which she says ‘turbo-charges’ the flavors.

And lastly, flavored waters are adding a new dimension to cocktails, the story reports. Unlike juices, flavored waters capture the ‘essence’ of an ingredient — be it cucumber, fruit or herbs — and require the use of high quality products.

Flavored waters are especially compatible with vodkas.

For cocktail recipe ideas that stray from the usual suspects like the Fuzzy Peach or Cosmopolitan, check out the app Mixologist Drink Recipes, which provides an impressive catalogue of 7,900 recipes and 1,300 ingredients.

Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart also launched a summer cocktail app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that offers 60 “cutting-edge” cocktail recipe ideas like the Herbal Lillet Cooler which calls for Lillet Blanc, gin, basil, orange juice, tonic, a cinnamon stick and a cucumber spear. — AFP RELAXNEWS