5@5 - Bring the garden to the bar
June 22nd, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

First, the dining trend was farm-to-table. Then, it went to roof-to-table. Now, it may be garden-to-bar's turn - at least according to the fine folks manning the libations at the PRESS Lounge in New York City.

Five Ways to Bring the Garden to the Bar: The beverage team at PRESS Lounge

1. Sangrita
"Translated as 'little blood,' this is a perfect complement to tequila. Simply juice tomatoes and add a dash of citrus (either orange or lime), plus some spice like fresh puréed jalapeños.

For a pop of color, use orange, red or very ripe, green tomatoes.

Serve the sangrita in a small glass - slightly larger than a shot glass -  next to a beautiful tequila or a light Mexican beer like Pacifico."

2. Quick pickles
"Such as watermelon, radishes, etc. for use as garnish or martinis.

You can use the pickling, brining liquid in place of olive juice and the pickled items in place of olives in martinis. Pickled scallions are also a great addition to martinis."

Quick Pickled Vegetables

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 pounds veggies to pickle, cleaned and trimmed
Kosher salt for blanching
1 tablespoon salt for the pickling liquid

Trim the veggies. Wash the veggies under cool, running water.

Blanch the vegetables quickly by dropping them in a large pot of salted, boiling water - and then shock them in ice water. Drain well and place them in a mason jar.

Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, mustard seeds, coriander, pink and white peppercorns, and fennel seeds.

Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the vegetables in the mason jar and let cool, sealing tight and transferring to the refrigerator.

3. Market muddles
"At the peak of the season (think raspberries, blueberries), combine ripe berries with a light rum and muddle. This cocktail is an excellent example of ingredients over recipes. It basically displays the gorgeousness of the berries using the basic mixology principle of balancing sweet and sour with the acidity.

It's a great simple recipe to play around with different combinations of fruit and herbs. You can either strain the fruit post-muddling, pre-mixing with the other ingredients, which will give it more of a cocktail feel. Or, not strain it and keep the pulp for a more rustic feel."

4. Housemade sodas
"Anyone can make these at home, but with the rise of home soda machines, it could be even more popular.

You simply make a fruit or vegetable syrup in water and add soda water. Rhubarb is a great example because it is strong and aromatic enough, which is also why lemon and limes are so popular.

Below is a rhubarb recipe, but you can easily substitute other items for rhubarb, as long as they are aromatic. Cherries work well too.

Housemade, infused sodas, are excellent bar mixers."

Cup of sugar
Cup of water
5 stalks of rhubarb, finely chopped
1 vanilla bean

Bring to a boil for a minute, strain, cool and then add soda water.

5. Infused honey
"A substitute for simple syrup with a distinctively locavore twist. Lavender-infused honey is a great complement to gin. It's easy to make by simply steeping the lavender in boiling water, then adding honey. The ratio is 1:1, honey to water.

Again, experimentation is key here - you can basically use any herb/honey/spirit combination that is balanced or to your taste. We're looking forward to experimenting with honey infused with pineapple sage."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Best in Life • Sip • Spirits • Think

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Sharp

    I'm gonna try the Sangrita right away.

    August 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  2. Binky42

    This is really neat! I'm glad home soda machines are making a come back. They were really popular in the 70's and 80's and then just disappeared.

    June 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  3. Truth


    June 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
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