Forget farm to table, restaurants are increasingly growing vegetables and herbs in onsite gardens to infuse dishes and drinks with seriously local flavor. These eateries on our 100 Best Wine Restaurants list feature premises-grown produce and garden-to-glass cocktails you can make at home.
Talula’s Garden practices container gardening both indoors (powered by grow lights) and outdoors, cultivating several varieties of mint, basil, sage and edible posies.
“At any given time, you may see a staff member clipping herbs to get ready for the bar, the menu and the cheese plates,” says owner Aimee Olexy.
“Fresh herbs are at the forefront of our cocktail program, adding lightness and fragrance,” Olexy says. “They are bright and allow us to keep drinks clean without a lot of syrups and sugars.”
The Suncatcher is a favorite at Talula’s Garden.“It’s as simple as it is delicious,” she says.
Recipe courtesy Talula’s Garden
3 ripe strawberries, tops removed and reserved for garnish (optional)
2 sprigs fresh chocolate mint or peppermint, divided
½ ounce St-Germain
Splash of sparkling wine
Edible violet, for garnish
Purée the strawberries and 1 sprig of mint. Pour into a Champagne flute. Add the St-Germain and top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with the remaining sprig of mint, strawberry tops and violet.
“There is a magic found in plucking something from a hedge or a garden plant and eating it right on the spot,” says Neal J. Wavra, innkeeper and sommelier. Drinks like the French 75 with Garden Herbs capture the sense of place with fresh-plucked elderflowers.
“[We have] roughly 7,000 square feet [of] onsite gardens, as well as five acres three minutes away,” says owner Ron Zimmerman. The restaurant has a 15-foot bay tree outside of the kitchen, inspiring drinks like the Fresh Bay Leaf Cocktail. “Dried bay is a distant echo of the vibrance of the fresh leaves,” says Zimmerman.
Blackberry Farm has a four-acre vegetable and herb garden on its 4,200-acre estate and employs a master gardener, forager, beekeeper, butcher and cheesemaker, lending the entire dining experience a truly artisanal flair.