On Wednesday night, Ryan and I decided to make a few cocktails with some ingredients from my office.
Yes, you read that right: my office. Luckily for me, Hearst Tower’s Cafe 57 hosts a greenmarket every Wednesday, featuring produce from local New York and New Jersey farmers.
As you may know, I go crazy for the greenmarket as it is, so having one in the cafeteria of a 46-story office building is particularly exciting to me!
That’s why when I saw fresh lavender, basil and strawberries, I scooped them up right away! I admittedly didn’t know what I would do with my new treasures, but as I was sitting at my desk, the scent of lavender wafting into my nostrils, my mind wandered to cocktails.
And then I knew: cocktails with ingredients fresh from the farmers themselves! Yum!
Ryan was obviously a willing partner, so we got to work on Wednesday evening, mixing and imbibing.
First up: a live basil gimlet, from the New York Times‘ Summer Drinks feature.
For this drink, from Scott Beattie’s Spoonbar in Healdsburg, Calif., we muddled five large basil leaves with 1 1/2 ounces of gin, 3/4 ounces of freshly-squeezed lime juice, and a 1/2 ounce of simple syrup.
Shake, then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a basil leaf. Delish!
Our second concoction was a creation of our own. We named it the Deutsch 75—a riff on the classic French 75, one of Ryan’s all-time favorite drinks.
While the classic French 75 is topped with champagne, we grabbed a sweet Riesling instead. Note that your choice of Riesling doesn’t need to be expensive—a bottle in the $10 range is just perfect for this refreshing summer tipple.
To try our Deutsch 75, take five or six fresh strawberries and muddle with 2 ounces of gin, 1 teaspoon of superfine sugar, and a 1/2 ounce of lemon juice.
After shaking and straining, pour into a chilled champagne flute and top with Riesling. Garnish with a sliced strawberry and another strawberry in the glass, if you wish.
Our berries were from Berried Treasures, located in Cooks Falls, New York. These berries were the small, sweet variety, rather than the large, mass-farmed kind, so I definitely recommend seeking out berries from a local farmer, if at all possible. You’ll taste the difference.
Lastly, we modified a little bit (actually, a lot!) on one of our classic favorites, the Aviation. We’ve named our new creation the Purple Pilot.
For this drink, I chopped up a handful of the lovely lavender blossoms you see above, allowing them to release their aromas and oils. I muddled these blooms with 2 ounces of gin, an ounce of simple syrup, a 1/2 ounce of Crème Yvette, and 3/4 ounce of lemon juice.
(As a side note, Crème Yvette is a very old spirit that just recently returned to the market; it can be tough to find. You can order it from Astor Wines & Spirits, or, if you can’t find it, you can substitute Crème de Violette.)
After shaking and straining these ingredients in a Collins glass, I topped with soda and garnished with some fresh lavender blossoms. By the way, don’t you love our metal spoon straw? Our favorite bar, Little Branch, sells them for just $3 each.
Each drink was delicious, but yet simple enough to let our fresh ingredients shine through. I can’t wait to see what next week’s market brings. (I’ve got my eye on you, watermelon radishes!)
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