These days, a growing number of bartenders are embracing the vegetable for an additional merit, approaching it with an eye to reducing waste, using not just the kernels but also the cobs, husks, and more in innovative ways, seeking to maximize how they use the versatile ears. You might call it the vegetable equivalent of a nose-to-tail approach.
Leanne Favre, the head bartender at Leyenda in Brooklyn, working with Shannon Ponche (who is no longer with Leyenda), developed a “Champagne corn cob syrup,” employing leftover corn cobs and sparkling wine that’s gone flat to make a flavorful syrup.
“The corn cob element came from thinking about things in [Leyenda’s] kitchen that might not have been used,” says Favre.
While boiling corn cobs releases an appealing sweet flavor, Favre says it’s also about the texture it provides. “Corn starch released from the cob provides a silky texture I almost relate more to honey,” she says.
Here, the syrup joins reposado tequila and fino sherry in a stirred and spirit-forward mix, making for an elegant and flavorful cocktail.