Cocktails, Fresh from the Market

Strawberries, Lavender and Basil

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.

Fresh Greenmarket Lavender

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.

Strawberries, Lavender and Basil from the Greenmarket

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.

Live Basil Gimlet Cocktail

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!

Deutsch 75 Cocktail

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.

Deutsch 75 Cocktail

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.

Purple Pilot Lavender Cocktail

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!)

By the way, are you following us on Twitter yet? We’d love to get to know you.

– Laura

17 thoughts on “Cocktails, Fresh from the Market”

  • I usually don’t drink Gin, but this basil drink was seriously delicious! I guess I have to start buying Gin from now on. Any brand you’d recommend?

    • Hi Flo,
      I personally use Plymouth gin for my cocktails. I love the blend of botanicals used, and the juniper flavor isn’t overpowering over the other ingredients in the blend.
      I’d highly recommend Hendricks gin if you want something that will turn you into a gin fan. It’s amazing in a martini. You’ll wonder what you were drinking before. -RS

  • I second that endorsement for Plymouth. It’s great stuff for mixing. I’ve been making Live Basil Gimlets for the past two nights and loving them.

    I tried making the same drink with tequila and cilantro instead of gin and basil, and it works wonderfully! You have to adjust the amount of cilantro leaves, but try it. It’s very refreshing. I used Cazadores reposado tequila, but a decent blanco would be great.

  • Hey There! Stumbled across your blog via

    Love the cocktails and the pictures and the EVERYTHING! The Aviation with lavender literally made my stomach moan (in the best possible way, of course)!

    I work at a bar in CA and we specialize in classic and craft cocktails and we make a yummy basil gimlet, too. Have you tried Junipero Gin before? It is quite easily one of my favorite gins.

    Also! Have you ever tried a Rangoon Gin Cobbler? It is a great summer drink– really refreshing.

    1.5 oz Gin (Plymouth)
    .75 oz Lime Juice
    .5 oz each Cointreau and Agave Nectar
    2 dashes Ango Bitters.

    Shake with ice, strain into Collins Glass, fill with crushed Ice.

    Let me know if you get around to making it and what you think! Keep up with the awesome posts!


      • I work at a bar called singlebarrel. It is in San Jose, CA, about an hour south of SF. We just celebrated our one year about 4 weeks ago, so still kind of new to the game!

        I checked out your older posts and found the post about your visit to ‘The Beagle’.. looks awesome! I am actually moving to NYC in August and will definitely have to try that place out. Have you been to Mayahuel? It is a Tequila and Mezcal restaurant and bar in the East Village. I absolutely LOVE Mezcal and didn’t get to make a trip there last time I was in town. If you get to make it there (or have) I would love to hear about it!

        Best from the West,


      • We’ve actually had Mayahuel on our to-do list for some time. Hoping to go there sometime soon.
        I really enjoy what’s going on in the SF cocktail world, we wrote a bit about that at the very beginning of the blog if you wanna check it out. -RS

    • Herbs are a great addition to cocktails. I actually picked up some chamomile at the greenmarket on Saturday and made a great Tom Collins-variation with it. (Lavender is my personal favorite though.) Happy experimenting! -LR

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