Greek Yogurt Goes Great With Anything. Especially Gin.

You know Greek yogurt is having its moment when an artisan in Brooklyn is making it from an old family recipe, big city mixologists are using it in a cocktail, and famous chefs are pairing it with fried brussels sprouts and green cauliflower. But how did this thick, creamy, unadulterated stuff become so popular?

It’s been a few years since our Charlotte ad agency did some work with Chobani, but at that time, the Greek yogurt category had become a $1.5 billion business in the U.S.

In 2006, Greek yogurt was only a $60 million market in the U.S. (Too sour! Too thick!) But sales have increased 2500%, accelerating through the Great Recession despite the fact that the “Greek” stuff (it’s actually more Lebanese) tends to be twice as expensive as normal yogurt. Still the two leading brands – Chobani and Fage – now account for nearly a seventh of the market.

American tastes are too complex to diagnose conclusively, but analysts think the ascendance of Greek yogurt is a case of conspicuous consumption (literally) led by women in the workplace. One theory holds that rich old women in affluent coastal cities are leading the trend that’s making Greek yogurt an aspirational product – “So foreign! So classy!” – even if the health benefits are dubious.

The rise of Greek yogurt in the U.S. reflects a larger change in the American culinary consciousness: a desire for foods that are considered purer, simpler, and more natural – in other words, not yogurts purporting to taste like key lime pie or strawberry cheesecake.

But lets get back to what’s most important: the cocktail hour. We have working at birdsong gregory a couple of amateur barkeeps, and when put to the task of finding a palatable recipe for an adult beverage that involves Greek yogurt, here was one of our favs.

Enjoy!

The Creamy Dreamy

1½ oz of Gin

½ oz of Pear Brandy (I like Williams – the bottle with a pear in it)

½ oz of basil simple syrup

1 tbs of Greek yogurt

½ oz of lemon juice

a few drops of orange bitters (Regans)

a little lemon zest

In a shaker, add all ingredients with ice and shake well. Then strain into a martini glass and garnish with 2-3 drops of orange bitters and a candied basil leaf.

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