Happy Hour Harvests
Try these savory fruit-, veggie- and herb-infused spirits naked or in creative cocktail concoctions.
The green movement meets the cocktail realm with organic, fruit-, veggie- and herb-infused spirits. Try these savory liquors naked, in a martini, or in creative tipples with fruit juices, mixers and bitters. With these spirits anyone can have a green thumb, all year round.
Square One Cucumber Vodka
"Spa water with a kick" is how Square One founder Allison Evanow describes her vodka, in which two kinds of cucumber essence (for both aroma and flavor) are added to organic rye vodka at the end of the distillation process. Its authentic taste is comparable to slices of the slender green veggie, and Evanow explains that the vodka's charm lies in its cool and delicate flavor profile. Versatile in both savory and sweet cocktails, Square One Cucumber vodka is equally enjoyable in twists on the Martini or Mojito, as well as in creations like the Pimm's-based Celery Cup #1, where it easily mingles with cilantro and celery.
Crop Organic Tomato Vodka
If you think you need to wait until late summer to capture that unbeatable garden tomato taste, think again. Take one sip of Crop Organic Tomato Vodka, and you'll swear you are drinking tomato water squeezed from the ripest of fruits. Director of Marketing Connie Kam says their organic vodkas appeal not only to tomato lovers, but also to people interested in the eco-friendly products and farming practices used at Crop. It's a natural choice for a kicked-up Bloody Mary, but the fresh tomato flavor shines through even better in a Martini. Increase the Vermouth, and garnish with a basil leaf and freshly cracked pepper, and you can pass on the Caprese salad appetizer.
Indio Spirits Lemongrass Lime Vodka
Citrusy, fresh and so aromatic, Indio Spirits' Lemongrass Lime Vodka gets its zingy kick from lime zest and lemongrass steeped in the spirit for 36-48 hours. "All of our vodkas are 100% natural and 80 proof, which is a unique thing in this business," explains Chairman and CEO John Ufford of the Oregon-based company. Indio's version has a drier and earthier taste than most lemon or lime vodkas, and it adds an enticing Asian flair to a vodka and tonic or gimlet, mixing especially well with freshly made ginger ale in a variation on the Collins.
Celery Cup #1
Courtesy of H. Joseph Ehrmann, Square One Brand Ambassador and Mixologist
1 Â½ oz. Square One Cucumber Vodka
1-inch piece English cucumber
2-inch piece celery stalk (close to the center of the bunch)
Handful of cilantro
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Â½ oz. Pimm's
Â¾ oz. organic agave nector or simple syrup
Celery stalk for garnish
In a mixing glass, muddle the cucumber, celery, cilantro and lemon juice into a pulp. Add remaining ingredients, cover with ice and shake hard for 10 seconds. Strain into a tall glass over fresh ice and garnish with a celery stalk.
Organic Tomato Vodka Martini
Courtesy of Crop Organic Vodka
3 parts Crop Organic Tomato Vodka
1 part dry Vermouth
Fresh basil leaf
Add ingredients to a shaker half-filled with ice. Stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a fresh basil leaf, and freshly cracked pepper if desired.
Indio Ginger Collins
1.5 oz. Indio Spirits Lemongrass Lime Vodka
1 tsp. sugar
Â½ small lime
Ginger ale (freshly made if possible)
Muddle vodka, sugar and lime in the bottom of a Collins glass. Add ice, and top with ginger ale.
Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.trywine.net.