While farm to table is all the rage, cocktail enthusiasts and authors like Amy Stewart have been talking farm to glass for quite some time now. Fresh herbs, microgreens, and of course, fresh squeezed juices are not just in, they’re part of a trend toward more healthy options in cocktails and drinking. This year’s Tales of the Cocktail was no less focused on the concept of growing your own fresh ingredients, with seminars on the agricultural production of tequila, and how terroir can change the way tequila tastes, to how to create a rooftop and courtyard bar garden.
In her latest book, The Drunken Botanist, Amy recommends having a small potted garden with organic herbs and veggies specifically grown for inclusion in cocktail making. Most will survive under bright indoor light, or you can get grow light or LED bulb to screw into an ordinary lamp.
Herbs like cilantro, arugula, basil, and mint can create savory and sweet additions to complement spirits, and things like peppers, juniper berries, pineapple sage, as well as lemongrass, and scented or rose geranium can act as muddling agents, creating layers upon layers of flavors.
Try gin with cucumber, thyme, lemon, and St. Germain. Tequila cocktails combine well with watermelon or honeydew, basil, lime juice, and orange liqueur. Vodka or rum may be mixed with raspberries or wild strawberries, mint, peach bitters, and sparkling wine.
Garden Party Margarita
- 2 parts Milagro Reposado
- 1 part fresh lime juice
- 3/4 tbs agave nectar
- 2 green poblano peppers
- 1 cup of cassava melon, juiced and strained well to remove pulp
- 3 arugula leaves
- Garnish: arugula leaf
Muddle all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake well. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass or serve as a martini. Arugula leaf for garnish.