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Bartender: Adam Sahyouni

Where: Bar 515 at J&G Steakhouse (Sahyouni has since moved to Old Ebbitt Grill)

Mystery Ingredient: Vanilla-flavored Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt, known as skyr

Bartender Response: “I like yogurt, I eat it every day,” Sahyouni said of the plain Greek Fage with honey or fruit he prepares for breakfast. “But I’ve never made a cocktail with it.”

What We Got: Sahyouni decided to sub yogurt in place of milk to make a Colorado Bulldog, with Kahlúa, Russian Standard vodka, and a bit of Coke for effervescence—a twist on a White Russian.

How It Tasted: Kind of like an egg cream. The Kahlúa’s coffee flavor essentially covered up much of the yogurt’s tanginess, so that the mystery ingredient’s main contribution was to the body and creaminess to the drink. And even though the yogurt was thick, the cocktail was well-blended. The secret? “You just have to shake it really well,” Sahyouni says of his arm workout.

Improv Points (1 to 5): 3. I thought yogurt as a mystery ingredient might yield a fruity cocktail, but Sahyouni avoided the smoothie-plus-alcohol route. Instead, he played it straight and embraced the yogurt’s vanilla flavoring for a cocktail that would be perfect for a wintry day in Reykjavík. Now, Sahyouni is excited about the possibilities of yogurt in other cocktails: “It adds a slightly frozen texture to a drink without using a blender.”


1.5 ounces Russian Standard vodka

1.5 ounces Kahlúa

1 tablespoon vanilla-flavored Siggi’s Icelandic-style yogurt


Combine vodka, Kahlúa, and yogurt in a shaker tin with ice. Shake well. Pour into a highball glass with a splash of Coke.

Got an idea for the next mystery ingredient? Let us know in the comments. 


Photo by Adele Chapin