HOW TO USE SZECHUAN BUZZ BUTTONS IN COCKTAILS & OTHER DRINKS
Szechuan Buzz Buttons can be used as an exciting garnish, salad ingredient, or in frozen desserts, but they excel as a cocktail mixer, adding another layer of meaning to the term “being buzzed.”
Mixologists most often pinch or cut off the tiny yellow/brown petals to mix, steep or infuse them into the alcohol or mixers. They also add a delicious dimension to coconut water (either store bought or from fresh coconuts), sparkling water, and citrus drinks like lemonade.
If you’re trying buzz buttons for the first time, here are four methods we’ve experimented with that will impart varying levels of tingle to your drinks. It all depends on the effect you want.
Shake or Mix (mildest effect)
Using a cocktail shaker, muddler, or blender to integrate Szechuan buttons into your drinks delivers a mild, intermittent tingle. It’s a great choice if you want an almost ethereal buzz that doesn’t overpower your drink. You can also simply sprinkle the petals on top.
Consume as a Garnish (strongest effect)
Chewing on the buttons delivers a much stronger, longer-lasting buzz. It takes a few seconds for the tingle to develop, so if the drinker chews a few petals directly, then sips the drink, the zing will hit simultaneously with the first sip. The sensation should carry through most of the cocktail, unless the drink is nursed for a long time.
TIP: Try combining methods 1 & 2 by mixing the petals from half a button into each drink and using the other half as a garnish to be chewed. This delivers the initial wow factor plus allows a more prolonged sensation.
Make an Infusion (most even distribution)
Steeping buzz buttons in your liquid ingredients evenly distributes the buzzy sensation throughout the cocktail. It requires a little forethought, but works extremely well. Here are two infusion recipes we’ve tried and loved:
BUZZ BUTTON INFUSED GIN
- 8 oz gin
- 2 buzz buttons
BUZZ BUTTON INFUSED CITRUS JUICE
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 buzz buttons
Flash Infusions (fast, strong, even distribution)
- Fine mesh strainer
- Cream whipper/foamer (we used an iSi Gourmet Whip Plus .5L)
- • 1 N20 charger for whipper
- 4 oz room temperature alcohol (gin, tequila, vodka, etc)
- 6 buzz buttons
With a whipped cream maker, you can flash-infuse the alcohol very quickly.