Think of a drizzle as a liquid garnish. Something distinct added at the last minute to the top of a dish to impart a contrasting taste of richness, sweetness or depth. Here we have the usual liquors, maple syrup and ice cream syrups and less usual–high quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and aged balsamic vinegar. Liquors such as Grand Marnier and Kahlua are sweet and complex and work wonderfully to enrich fresh fruit, ice cream, unfrosted cake, and pastry. The key is to drizzle not pour–just enough to tease the palate. “Don’t drown it.”
Top quality EVOO is hard to find in the super market where most of the stuff on the shelf is diluted. Whole books have been written about the EVOO industry where producers and distributors have been diluting pure olive oil for centuries–with the result that the bad has driven out the good. There is not a pizza, pasta dish, salad, humus spread or bread bites that isn’t improved with a drizzle or dip of fine EVOO. (BTW, the operational sequence to drizzle EVOO is to 1. uncork the bottle, 2. place thumb over the opening, 3. adjust thumb to allow oil to drizzle out, 4. remove thumb, 5. lick thumb and 6. recork the bottle.)
Finally, there is Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale–balsamic vinegar aged in barrels for 15 years or more. Balsamico Tradizionale is thick, rich, sweet and amazingly complex. It is to be dripped, not drizzled on tomatoes, on other raw veggies, on raw fruit, on hard and semi-soft chesses, on prosciutto de Parma, on ice cream or simply licked off a spoon.