From coast to coast, bartenders this summer are following a culinary trend, in designing cocktail menus that feature fresh ingredients purchased at their nearby local farmers’ markets. Mixologists are infusing and juicing local produce and fruits to create unique summer cocktails while showcasing the tastiest regional farm ingredients.
More and more restaurants and bars are serving cocktails that reflect this growing trend and are shaping their beverage menus according to the seasons.
Washington D.C.-based Café Atlantico’s summer cocktail menu features a variety of fresh produce, including strawberries (which are credited on the menu as “from the 8th Street farmer’s market”), cucumber and cilantro.
On the west coast, Scott Beattie of Cyrus in Healdsburg, California, also called the ‘Seasonal Genius’ for his dedication to using local produce and creating beautifully inventive and seasonal cocktails, uses fresh herbs he hand picks from an organic farm, just four blocks away from the restaurant.
In New York City, bartender and consultant James Meehan from Gramercy Tavern and Pegu Club uses fresh raspberries from the market in his bourbon drink called the “R&R.”
While the market-fresh cocktail trend began with the pros, a visit to a neighborhood farm stand can supply the at-home entertainer with all the necessary tools to craft the perfect fresh and simple summer cocktail.
Summer is the ideal time to experiment at home and create garden fresh mixers. Herbs such as basil and mint are at their peak during the summer months as well and can be incorporated into sophisticated seasonal classics or inventive summer cocktail creations. Ingredients such as berries, stone fruits and melons are ripest in July and August, while tomatoes are best in August and September.
Gazpacho and Tonic
Bar Chef Adam Seger of Nacional 27—Chicago, IL
– Infuse 2 Thin Sliced Fennel Bulbs per 1 Liter Gin for 1 week
– Add equal parts to the fennel: chopped seedless watermelon and 1/4 ” thick sliced cucumber. Gin should just cover all the produce
– Infusion is ready to go
– Fill 1/3 of a Rocks glass with the fennel bulbs and 4 lime wedges
– Muddle INTENSELY: Fennel is very firm
– Add 1 oz. Infused Gin
– Fill with Ice/Tonic/Cocktail Straw/Bamboo Pick
Makes 1 Drink
Passion Fruit “Maracuja”
Café Atlantico— Washington D.C.
TO MAKE THE MIX:
– 1 root of ginger
– 1 jalapeño
– Slice all ingredients
– Add 6 cups of water
– Add 2 cups of sugar and simmer everything for 3 hrs
1.5 oz. Orange Rum
1 oz. Ginger Jalapeno Mix
1 oz. Passion Fruit Juice
Shake well, Strain & Serve
Chill Martini Glass
Garnish with a jalapeno julienne
Makes 1 Drink
Bar Manager Scott Beattie of Cyrus – Healdsburg, CA
Vodka (1.5 oz.), Tomato Water, Sungold and Rosalita Cherry Tomatoes, Opal Basil, Italian Sweet Basil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Lemon Juice and Salt & Pepper
Bartender James Meehan of Gramercy Tavern and Pegu Club—NYC, NY
1.5 oz. Bourbon
2.25 oz. Iced Tea
1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
3 drops rose flower water
Add the raspberries and simple to a mixing glass and muddle
Add the Bourbon, rose flower water, tea and ice
Shake and double strain into a rocks glass
Garnish 1 raspberry skewered with a dried rose inside it
Makes 1 Drink
Mixologist/Owner Lucy Brennan of Mint Restaurant and 820 Lounge — Portland, Oregon
1.25 oz Gold Tequila
.25 oz Harlequin or Cointreau
1 oz blackberry puree
1oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Fill a pint glass with ice
Add all of the ingredients
Shake and serve on the rocks
Garnish with a lime
Makes 1 Drink
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is a national trade association representing the leading brands of distilled spirits. Council member products include the full spectrum of quality distilled spirits such as Bourbon, Scotch and other whiskeys, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, brandy, cordials and liqueurs.
The distillers take special pride in their products as well as in their commitment to encourage responsible beverage alcohol consumption by adults who choose to drink. If you choose to drink, consume sensibly and responsibly. An important part of responsible drinking is understanding that a standard drink of regular beer (12 oz.), distilled spirits (1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits) and wine (5 oz.) each contains the same amount of alcohol.