Is that a carrot in your cachaça? Why, yes it is!
The increasing awareness of what we’re consuming doesn’t only apply to reading food labels and asking a waiter where they source their beef. It also applies to bar menus, which are featuring more cocktails with vegetables added.
“We previously saw a trend of sugar-laden drinks, like daiquiris and lemon drops, that everyone has become familiar with, but as everyone is more aware of health now, we notice those drinks dying in popularity,” explains Cristopher Wagner, mixologist and creative director for P.S. Kitchen in New York City.
Stepping in to take their place are farm-to-bar drinks. “Gone are the days of sour mix and margarita mix. People want fresh, real ingredients” in their cocktails, says Wagner. Plus, with more people experimenting with plant-based diets, more bartenders are experimenting with plant-centric drinks. It doesn’t hurt that these cocktails also tend to be super Instagram-worthy, he adds.
Next time you invite the girls over for drinks, try these simple yet slurp-worthy veggie-infused drinks created by Wagner. (But if you want to pretend you crafted them all on your own, we won’t tell.)
Rum + Sweet Potato
Why it works: “The lightness of spiced rum mixed with the finish of vanilla complements the richness of a sweet potato,” says Wagner.
The Pearly Potato
- 2 oz. spiced rum
- 1/4 cup sweet potato puree
- 0.5 oz. grapefruit juice
- 1 oz. pear juice
Shake all ingredients and serve in a highball glass over ice.
Tequila + Avocado
Why it works: Don’t limit your avocado to guac and smoothies. “The oak and smoothness of añejo tequila is balanced out with the creaminess of an avocado,” says Wagner. (P.S. Did you know you can hide vegetables in your dessert recipes, too?)
Piña y Palta
- 1 small piece ginger
- 2 oz. jalapeño-infused añejo tequila
- 1 oz. pineapple juice
- 1 small wedge avocado
- Salt (to rim glass)
Muddle ginger in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass rimmed with salt.
Vodka + Tomatillos
Why it works: Vodka is a bit of a blank canvas, so you can experiment with it. “With vodka’s clean and crisp flavor, I like to pair it with more interesting ingredients in a play on a Bloody Mary,” says Wagner.
- 2 oz. vodka
- 2 tomatillos
- 3 radishes
- 1 oz. Worcestershire sauce
- Cracked black pepper
- 1 dash sriracha
- Garnish: 1 celery stalk
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with celery stalk.
Gin + Asparagus
Why it works: Say what? “The notes in gin are complex and you want to pair it with a smooth vegetable,” he says. He likes asparagus because while it isn’t a common cocktail component, “it really adds an interesting layer when paired with gin.”
The Stalky Botanist
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 to 7 stalks asparagus, broken into pieces
- 2.5 oz. gin
- 1 oz. vermouth
- 0.75 oz. lemon juice
Bring water and sugar to a low boil in a pot. Add asparagus and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat to allow to cool. Strain and reserve simple syrup in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. To make cocktail, shake 1 oz asparagus simple syrup with remaining ingredients. Serve in a martini glass.
Whiskey + Beets
Why it works: Whiskey needs a hearty vegetable that stands up to it and also complements the spirit. Wagner says beets are a perfect pairing.
- 4 raspberries
- 1.5 oz. beet juice
- 2 oz. whiskey
- 1 oz. orange juice
- 0.5 oz. maple syrup
Muddle raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients, shake, and strain into a rocks glass.