This Colorful Ingredient Turns Cocktails Into Litmus Tests


Long gone are the days of boring and basic cocktails. Today mixologists are stirring up drinks that include everything from smoke to foie gras in their list of ingredients. When it comes to beverages that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate, the color-changing Disco Sour cocktail at the 492 restaurant in South Carolina might be hard to top.

According to Lost at E Minor, the drink owes its psychedelic properties to a special ingredient known as the butterfly pea flower. The plant has been used as food dye for centuries, and when added to water the extract can be used to make bright blue ice cubes.

The colorful effect this has on cocktails is impressive on its own, but the real magic happens with citrus is added to the mix. Acid turns butterfly pea flower into an edible litmus test. As the blue ice cubes melt, it reacts with lemon slices in the Disco Sour to turn the drink a dreamy purple hue.

The bartenders at 492 aren’t the only ones experimenting with the ingredient. The Aviary in Chicago as well as Mission Chinese and Uncle Boons in New York City all serve up cocktails that feature the butterfly pea flower. If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic way to consume your color-changing liquids, the plant is also used to make tea.

[h/t Lost at E Minor]

All images courtesy of Instagram.

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