Drinking the Bounty: White Onions

IMG_9778Onions. You guys, he made a cocktail with onions. AND IT WAS GOOD.

The only thought process to share on this one is that Chris knew he didn’t want to add sugar so he muddled a thin slice of onion straight into the lime juice. Aquavit brought some complementary flavors like caraway to the party and the whole thing ended up tasting a bit like biting into a tart green apple. After the first few sips, we actually decided it needed MORE onion so he smashed another slice with the side of the knife and added it as a garnish. The extra aroma added a nice sharpness to the sip.

This drink is magic. It’s alchemy. It’s alive! It’s delicious!

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Awful pic because I was busy going “Wait, whaaaaaaaaaaa?”

The Gobsmacker (named for my reaction to how well this worked)

  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 oz Aquavit
  • Two thin slices of a fresh white onion (these were smallish CSA, not grocery store bohemeths)

Add ingredients to Collins glass, gently middle the onions into the line juice. Add Aquavit, top with ice and side. Garnish with reserved onion for added aroma.

Drinking the Bounty: Cucumber

Commentary to follow

 

Cucumber #1

  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 2 medium slices of cucumber
  • 2 oz mezcal (Del
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz maraschino

Muddle the cilantro, cucmber, and mezcal in the bottom of a shaker glass. Add lime juice, maraschino, ice. Shake well, double strain into a glass, and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber.

 

Cucumber #2

  • 2 thin slices of cucumber
  • Leaves from one sprig of mint
  • 2 oz Malfy Lemon Gin

Gently bruise the mint and cucumber by stirring it around the bottom of the glass. Add lemon gin, fill glass with crushed ice (and more gin if needed), and garnish with a mint spring and cucumber slice.

Drinking the Bounty: Parsley

It’s not easy being greens. We are definitely in the green days of summer – this week’s CSA share was full of greens like chard and romaine and herbs like basil and parsley. I tend to think of parsley and cilantro as similar flavors, and things that are great as an accent but overpowering as anything more. That said, we decided that with the hot summer days well upon us, the refreshing and cooling flavors of parsley would be our herbal inspiration.

The overall inspiration was basically an alcoholic gremolata – a sauce that always sounds refreshing. Chris started with lemon juice and Tattersall Crema (similar to a curacao) for both sweetness and additional citrus flavor. His odd twist was a bar spoon of homemade amaretto to add a touch of nuttiness (thinking along the lines of a pesto). All of that was tossed into a cocktail shaker with two ounces of vodka, several sprigs of parsley, and ice then shaken and strained.

The resulting cocktail has a strong parsley aroma but a complex herbal and citrus flavor. The parsley actually lightens up the heavier citrus flavors, making it a light and refreshing cocktail with just a little depth from the amaretto. Definitely a summertime winner!

FullSizeRender (7)Being Green

  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Tattersall Orange Crema (or curacao)
  • 1/4 oz amaretto
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, double strain and serve neat with a parsley leaf garnish.

Drinking the Bounty: Snap Peas

My bartender is out of town this week. OH NO! I love cocktails, I love thinking about and drinking cocktails. But I leave the making of cocktails up to Chris most of the time. I’ve certainly never tried to come up with a mostly original idea myself. I was hoping there would be a softball this week – a cucumber or maybe some early raspberries. But nope – it was all greens.

IMG_9335As I stared at my vegetables and they stared back at me, I decided the sugar snap peas were going to work best for me because of their crisp sweetness. Suddenly it occured to me that peas are often paired with mint – I could go in a mojito direction! I spent a few minutes marveling at my own creativity before googling “snap pea mojito” and realizing I’m not that original. Oh well, still sounds good.

I started by muddling four or five pods worth of shelled peas into a shaker with just a pinch or two of sugar. I wanted the sugar there more for abrasion than sweetness. Once I had something of a paste, I added two ounces of Skalvenn Rum (a local rum that is a nice mixing spirit) and ice. I gave it all a quick shake IMG_9341and then strained (I should have double strained) into a highball glass and topped it all with a bit of soda water and a sprig of mint.

You might think the delicate flavor of the peas would be overpowered by the mint, and you would be almost right. But there’s a sweet “green” flavor, for lack of a better term, that shines through and adds a

beautiful spring-like crispness. This is definitely the sort of drink to enjoy on the patio during a summer heatwave. I may not have been as creative as I hoped, but I still managed to make something tasty!

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Snap Pea Comeback

  • 15-20 peas (4-5 pods worth)
  • 3-4 mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 oz white rum
  • Soda water

Muddle the peas, mint leaves, and sugar to form a rough paste (you want the flavors blended but the leaves still mostly green) then add rum and ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass, top with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Drinking the Bounty: Strawberries!!

I. Love. Strawberries. I think I single handedly kept the strawberry seller in business at the farmer’s market by my office. Quarts and quarts! Some went into popsicles, some went into milkshakes, some went on top of ice cream, some went in my mouth. Well, you get the idea.

While the market berries had shown up a few weeks ago – the rules we set for ourselves and this challenge meant we couldn’t use them in cocktails until they (hopefully) showed up in the CSA. This was that week – hurray!

We started out by playing with a strawberry-balsamic syrup (one of my favorite flavor combinations) but felt like it hid the fresh flavor of the berries far too much. When you have farm fresh berries, you want farm fresh flavor! We ended up going for something much closer to a smash – with muddled strawberries to pack that fresh punch. A little lemon juice added a bit of tartness, the barreled gin adds some smooth vanilla notes, and the fruity cognac buttresses the strawberry flavor against the aroma of the mint. (I tried it before and after the mint garnish and the aroma really does change everything.)

 

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Strawberry Smash

  • 5 small strawberries
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz rich simple syrup
  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 1/2 oz barreled gin

Muddle the strawberries with the simple syrup to make a strawberry mash. Add lemon juice and spirits. Stir to mix. Top with ice and a little soda water, garnish with a mint spring.

 

CSA Preview

STRAWBERRIES!!!! (And rhubarb, basil, spinach, kale, lettuce, and parsley)

I was concerned about running low on strawberries after hitting the farmer’s market today.

Mostly I’m excited, because despite getting berries at the market, our arbitrary made up rules meant we couldn’t feature them on the blog until they (hopefully) showed up in the CSA.

Stay tuned!

CSA Preview

Bonus Box #2 arrived today and well, we have our work cut out for us. It’s really tempting to cheat by using the amazing strawberries I got from the farmer’s market – but cheating on week two of this challenge just feels like giving up!

This week’s box contained spinach, red and romaine lettuce, garlic chives, asparagus, kale, and beet greens (with tiny roots). We’ll spend the weekend testing theories and let you know how we’re drinking the bounty this week on Sunday or Monday night. Stay tuned!

Drinking the Bounty – Rhubarb

Chris and I got our first CSA box last Thursday, a small bonus box as a thank you for signing up for all three seasons of the Featherstone Farm CSA. Signing up for three seasons means we are heading into nearly eight months of fresh produce! We chose Featherstone because they came highly recommended by friends and they have a drop off site just around the block from our new home. It’s hard to imagine an easier way to stock our home with fresh and local produce!

While the majority of our CSA share is destined to be eaten, the rhubarb we received in Bonus Box #1 ended up being made into a syrup for cocktails and sodas. I started thinking about unexpected cocktail ingredients – like the time I was at Parlour and had a drink made with butternut squash shrub. Are there more tasty ways to drink veggies in cocktail form? Can we destroy all the nutritional goodness of greens by adding them to alcohol? Can we use at least one thing from every CSA box we receive to make a delicious cocktail?

Challenge accepted!

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First Round – Rhubarb

IMG_9134Rhubarb is almost cheating because it’s a vegetable the world treats as fruit. Raw, it’s basically inedible. When you cook it with plenty of sugar it ends up bitter yet sweet with a bit of earthy funk that is the perfect counterpart to other early summer fruit, like strawberries.
To make the syrup, I simply simmered chopped rhubarb with water and sugar for about 25 minutes, then strained out the rhubarb. (Recipe) The syrup retained all of the good funk of the rhubarb while cutting much of the stalk’s bitterness.

Chris started with the mild sugar cane funk of cachaça to accentuate the vegetal flavors in the rhubarb. Next up was some lemon juice to give the cocktail more body and then finished with homemade grenadine, hoping to bring some smoky notes to the overall taste.

FullSizeRender (4)The final product was smooth on the front of the palate with a hint of dry bitterness at the back of my tongue. The grenadine and lemon juice made it almost taste like a rhubarb lemonade, with the funkiness keeping it from being cloying or childish. The drink had a beautiful pink hue from both the rhubarb and the grenadine and reminded me of the recently blossomed crabapple tree in our new backyard or a Northern Minnesota sunset.

The Rhubarb Sunset

  • 1 oz Rhubarb Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Grenadine
  • 1 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 2 oz Cachaça (or Rhum Agricole)

Shake with ice and strain.