Cocktails with a dash of ... essential oil?

Madison on Park in University Heights now offers two cocktails that are crafted with essential oils.


Essential oils have been around for decades, but they are definitely having a *moment.*

If you’re not in the loop, the oils are essentially (sorry, had to) plant extracts concentrated into liquid form. These oils are known for having relaxing smells and are commonly used in aromatherapy; some people also believe essential oils can cure ailments (though claims of specific health benefits are not scientifically proven).

You may have used essential oils in a diffuser or on your skin — but have you ever thought about adding them to your cocktail? Well, Madison on Park is doing just that.

Last month, two new essential oil-infused cocktails were added to the menu: Saint Balthazar and Thick as Thieves, both priced at $13. The University Heights restaurant and bar has previously experimented with unexpected cocktail ingredients (like butterfly pea flower and blue-green algae), but this is the first time essential oils have been added into the mix.

Saint Balthazar is a pisco (brandy) based drink that uses frankincense essential oil. The oil, whose smell reminds some people of Christmas trees, is common in skin care products. When ingested, frankincence is believed to help the respiratory and immune systems, as well as reduce anxiety and signs of aging. The brandy cocktail also has blackberry liquer and lime, topped with foam.

Thick as Thieves is comprised of rye whiskey, cynar (bitters), amaro (Italian herbal liqueur) and thieves essential oil (hence the cocktail’s name). With an aroma linked to fall baking, thieves essential oil is a specialty blend that features five different oils: cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus radiata, rosemary and lemon. It has many uses — such as an ingredient in natural home cleaning products — but when ingested it is believed to have antioxidant properties, as well as help the immune systems.

Madison on Park is located on Park Boulevard in University Heights.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Whether or not these infused drinks actually have health benefits, experts do agree that the essential oils can help with relaxation and mood boosting. And what better way to brighten your day than with a cocktail or two? Bonus points if it smells good.

@ Madison on Park, University Heights, 619.269.6566,