Go to the farmers’ market or a grocery store these days, and you’ll see an abundance of perfectly ripe vegetables. Right now is, of course, the height of the summer growing season. But once you’ve had your fill of eating vegetables, you should try drinking them. (Don’t worry, we’re not talking about blending up a health-food shake.)
While countless cocktails call for fresh fruit or fruit juice, bartenders are now routinely crossing the produce aisle in search of vegetables to give their drinks more savory notes. The veggies can be muddled, juiced or even pickled for garnishes.
Cool, refreshing cucumber has become an increasingly popular ingredient in all types of drinks (not to mention a key flavor in the Scottish Hendrick’s Gin). It works really well paired with fresh, sweet celery and organic vodka in the Celery Cup No. 1, created by H. Joseph Ehrmann, a Liquor.com advisor and owner of famed San Francisco bar Elixir.
Whether you’re making a Bloody Mary, a Caesar or a Red Snapper, tomato juice is a bar staple. But with delicious fresh tomatoes so readily available, it seems a shame to open a can or bottle. Allen Katz, Liquor.com advisor and Director of Mixology & Spirits Education for Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, suggests you muddle halved cherry tomatoes instead. (Slices of larger tomatoes will work as well but are definitely messier.) Mix up a round of his spicy Fresh Red Snappers while you savor the last few weeks of summer.
In a shaker, muddle the cucumber, celery, cilantro and lemon juice to a pulp. Add the vodka, agave nectar and Pimm’s, and fill with ice. Shake hard for 10 seconds and strain into a tall glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a leafy celery stalk from the heart.
Cut the tomatoes in half, add them to a shaker and muddle. Add the gin, lemon juice, Tabasco and Worcestershire and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Dust lightly with pepper and celery salt to taste. Garnish with a cherry tomato on a cocktail pick.