I’m a huge fan of the farm-to-table movement. Using local ingredients not only helps your community, but I find that local products taste better, too. It only makes sense, right? Local products tend to only be available at peak season, so of course they should taste better! And there is usually such a short period of time between farm and table that the products are much fresher than those found in big markets.
So you’ve probably heard of the farm-to-table movement. But now there is a new movement rising…Farm-to-Bar! This spin-off of farm-to-table involves using local fruits and vegetables in drinks and cocktails. Indeed, many of the ingredients for farm-to-bar style cocktails can be grown in your own backyard. For instance, both the Basil Lime Gin Fizz and Whiskey Mojito feature simple syrups infused with basil and mint, both of which grow easily in backyard gardens. (Of course, if you don’t have much of a green thumb, then these herbs can be readily found at most farmer’s markets and grocery stores.) Alternatively, the Sour Cherry Bourbon Smash and the Caipirinha feature lemons and limes, respectively. Since citrus trees don’t do so well in the northeast, I rely on the market for these.
Each of the 4 cocktails below use infused-simple syrups. Simple syrup is quite easy to make, and I often like to keep a jar of plain simple syrup in the fridge for mixing cocktails. Simple syrup is just a 1-1 ratio of sugar to water, or sometimes a 2-1 ratio of sugar to water. (I personally prefer a 1:1 ratio as I find it plenty sweet enough for my tastes.) To infuse simple syrup, simply add the herbs or fruits when simmering the sugar-water mixture. But don’t forget to strain out the herbs before storing as the herbs can lend a bitter taste if allowed to sit in the syrup for too long. And to store, just pour the simple syrups into air-tight containers or bottles and place in the refrigerator. The syrups should easily last 4-6 weeks.
I’ve included a cocktail recipe with each of the 4 syrups, but feel free to get creative. And if you invent a fun new syrup or cocktail, come back and let me know! Cheers!