Farmers Market finds + spirits – who knew the two would make such the dynamic duo? Like yin and yang, vegetables/fruits/herbs and liquor seem to surprisingly compliment each other. Adventurous bartenders and “mixologists” all over the city are crafting cocktails inspired by all that is in bloom and currently in season, so let’s just say if you haven’t had vodka with your beets or arugula, it’s time we get you with the program. Here are 8 of the freshest (literally) and most inventive ‘garden to glass’ cocktails to sip on this Spring!
Cocktail : The Green Goddess
What’s In It : green tea infused wodka with cucumber, arugula, jalapeño & absinthe
The 411 : think of it like you’re just ordering some green juice, and it just happens to have some vodka in it. It’s savory, refreshing, and tastes like exactly what you need after a solid hike.
Cocktail(s) : Rosemary/lavender, grapefruit/cilantro, jalapeno/cucumber Gin & Tonics
What’s In It : Rosemary/Lavender: Gin, Rosemary & Lavender Syrup, Lemon, Tonic // Grapfruit/Cilantro: Gin, Cilantro, Grapefruit, Lime, Tonic // jalapeno/cucumber: Gin, Muddled Jalapeno & Cucumber, Lime, Tonic
The 411 : Cafe Pinot has the PERFECT “secret garden” setting in which to enjoy said garden to class cocktails. The Secret Garden Social Hour is Monday – Friday 4:30-7:30PM and the herbaceous flavors in the rosemary/lavender gin and tonic pair quite nicely with a landscape of greenery and a gorgeous setting sun.
Also Consider: #BubbleBar + a $3 liqueur add on (currant, raspberry, blackberry, wild strawberries, St. Germain)
Cocktail : #3
What’s In It : cardamom, gin, carrot, aperol
The 411 : trust, it tastes just as pretty as it looks. Cardamom is an unusual yet welcome flavor for a cocktail and if anyone in LA knows a thing or two of making the most out of wonderful, sometimes strange, but always fresh ingredients, it’s the wonderful and talented head “cocktail tinkerer” at Birch Gaby Mlynarczyk – seriously, her cocktails are some of my all time favorites.
Also Consider : #5 – turmeric, vodka, tikka masala, coconut, galangal
Cocktail : Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
What’s In It : Tito’s Vodka, elderflower, cucumber, habanero, lemon/ROCKS.
The 411 : a perfect name for a perfect cocktail. Just when you think it looks light and refreshing, that habanero sneaks up on you and gives you a little jolt of spice and warmth you weren’t expecting yet undoubtedly welcome. Nathan Oliver, Wolf cocktail creator extraordinaire, has once again outdone himself with this menu.
Also Consider : Oaxacan to the Beet – Montelobos mescal, red apple, ginger, beet, scotch bitters
Cocktail(s) : Block Rockin’ Beets
What’s In It : Mezcal, Beet, Smoked Tea, Lime, Agave
The 411 : If there’s one place on this list that has this whole ‘garden to glass’ thing down to a fine science, it’s EP + LP. Almost every single cocktail on their spring menu has at least one “farmers market” ingredient, but even if they don’t there’s a good chance that at the very least there are flowers in your beverage. Literally.
Also Consider : WeHo Welcome – vodka, house curaçao, fresh tangerine, bubbles, angostura bitter
Cocktail : Sorry Mrs. Jameson
What’s In It : apricot jam, habanero bitters, lemon, mezcal, float of tempranillo
The 411: consistently a crowd pleaser and complete with a flower. Patio in which to enjoy also included.
Also Consider : Fungus Among Us – amantillado sherry infused with shitake mushrooms, house mulled spanish vermouth, mezcal espadin, housemade truffle bitters, orange oil, sparkling wine
What’s In It: Gin, Aperol, Yuzu Juice, Fresh Basil, and Mandarinquat.
The 411: Republique’s cocktail list solely consists of “market” inspired ingredients, however the mandarinquat (which is a mandarin and kumquat hybrid) is one of my absolute seasonal favorites. There’s also a Celery, Grapefruit, Tangerine, and Pineapple option should manderinquat not suit your palate, but regardless of how you choose all Republique cocktails have that garden/orchard fresh taste and a simply yet satisfying quality to all of them.
Cocktail: ICHIBA special (only served on Wednesday’s)
What’s In It: it changes every week depending on what chef picks up at the Santa Monica Farmers Market
The 411: As mentioned, chef Brandon Kida heads to the Santa Monica Farmers Market every Wednesday in search of the freshest most incredible produce in which to cook with that evening, and depending on what he finds that will also determine the special cocktail in which to pair everything with. It changes weekly but with each new menu comes a new excitement, a new attitude, a new muse if you will, and with such incredible ingredients and inspiration the experience as a whole is simply unparalleled.