At the Salty Donut, a Miami-born craft doughnut shop that's in a pop-up phase and will open permanently in February or March, infusing doughnuts with alcohol is all in a day's work.
"Alcohol does really fun things for us," says Andy Rodriguez, co-owner of the Salty Donut. "It opens a lot of doors, in a culinary sense. Max Santiago, our pastry chef, has always used alcohol in many things too. And because many desserts incorporate alcohol in one way or another, we wanted to experiment with doughnuts."
Rodriguez says he uses various liquors in a way that's neither overbearing nor complicated. The liquor or beer is reduced to a sugary syrup and drizzled atop or infused into the doughnut. "A lot of the time, you wouldn't probably know it's used unless we told you," Rodriguez says.
Doughnuts at the temporary pop-up, located at 29 NW 24th St. in Wynwood, rotate weekly, but one or two alcohol-themed bites are consistently on the menu. Though they can't get you drunk, the taste can fool many.
"We can't actually serve alcohol," Rodriguez laughs. "But it does make you feel like you're taking a drink of whatever the alcohol reduction is."
In their maple bacon doughnut, a dark porter-style beer reduction from Wynwood-based J. Wakefield Brewing is showered on top of the doughnut, adding a smoky taste to pair with the bacon's flavor. "We went to J. Wakefield to taste a bunch of different beers," he says. "We tasted the UJP porter and had Max play around with it, and that's how we created the drizzle. It adds a really cool sweet/smoky flavor to the doughnut."
Honoring Miami's love for brunch, they also created a mimosa doughnut. "We take our brioche doughnut and real champagne, reduce it down to a glaze, and then glaze the doughnut with it," Rodriguez says. "We put orange peels on it too and do a top-secret Salty Donut process that removes the bitterness from the peel. You don't need to get a mimosa when you can get one of these bad boys instead."
The shop offers spiked doughnut holes too, using libations such a bourbon old-fashioned or coquito, a Puerto Rican spiked eggnog. "We use the alcohol as an infusion in the doughnut holes," he says. "We reduce it all to a syrup like the others and put it in a shooter that is then stuck inside the doughnut. It's really fun."
Rodriguez says he wants to get a beer-and-wine license to experiment with doughnut-and-alcohol pairings. "We want to do things with white wines and champagnes and beer too," he says, "like pairings where you have a doughnut that tastes even better with a type of drink."
The Salty Donut pop-up is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or until the doughnuts sell out.
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