To further capitalize on the nutritional benefits and taste qualities of the walnut, the California Walnut Board and Commission created a marketing campaign that infuses the nut into cocktails and other drinks.
With the help of Spanish mixologist Javier de las Muelas, owner of the world-famous Dry Martini cocktail bar in Barcelona, the Folsom, Calif.-based board is promoting a range of new cocktails and “mocktails” built on a variety of walnut infused bases.
“Walnut milk is actually very popular in Asia, so that’s where this idea came from,” Jennifer Williams, assistant international marketing director at the California Walnut Board and Commission.
The collection, which premieres in Spain and will be featured at the Bar Convent Berlin this October, features five alcoholic and five non-alcoholic drinks.
They combine walnut milk, syrup, butter, liquor, or puree with other ingredients to create new uses for the nut.
“This is a very innovative project due to the complexity of turning a walnut, which is a crunchy food closely associated with the world of cuisine, into an ideal ingredient for the world of cocktails,” de las Muelas said.
Demand for walnuts continues to be strong, especially internationally. The 2014 crop weighs in at a record of 545,000 tons, up 11% from 2013’s production of 492,000 tons.
Nevertheless, the commission is always looking to expand the possible range of uses for walnuts.
“We really are trying to reach out beyond consumers. We’re trying to target foodservice, thinking, ‘What’s something new and exciting we can offer to foodservice besides the standard?’” Williams said.
“For having a nut — something traditionally thought of as crunchy and associated with cuisine — to turn it into a drink has the potential to shift how you think of California walnuts. I think it’s going to do really well.”