March 24 is National Cocktail Day, a day close to my heart, and we have a pair of fabulous cocktails to celebrate National Cocktail Day with a side of veggies!
Food & Wine magazine has predicted that one of the trends for cocktails in 2022 will be to see more vegetables in our cocktails. With that in mind, I set out to create some vegetable-forward tipples that keep things light and bright for spring. Think pale greens and pinks, aromatic garnishes and delicate flavours. These drinks are long, to suit the lengthening days, and bright and bubbly to refresh us as the weather warms.
There is a celery soda available in the US that I tried to order once. It was going to cost a fortune to ship, so I decided to make my own. Result: a really unique and refreshing mixer made with (inexpensive!) ingredients we all have on hand. It is the star of the show in this celery spritz, which is a wonderfully refreshing, light and bright.
1 oz Ketel One Vodka
1 oz celery syrup (see recipe below)
4 oz soda water
leafy celery stalk for garnish
Add vodka and syrup to a glass and stir. Fill the glass with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a leafy celery stalk.
6-8 stalks celery, finely sliced
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan and dissolve the sugar in the water. Remove from the heat. Add the lemon zest, celery and black pepper corns, stir and then add the lemon juice. Let steep for at least an hour or until the mixture comes to room temperature. Fine strain into a clean container. Celery syrup will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Snap Pea G&T
Shrubs are an age-old method of preserving fruits and vegetables in vinegar and sugar. I got the idea for this snap pea shrub from the folks at Seedlip, and of course, this recipe works wonderfully with a non-alcoholic spirit. I made my version of this shrub with a mild, sweet white wine vinegar, which adds acidity without too much aroma. The result is light and bright and the greeniest green that ever was green.
I like this drink with both with soda water and with tonic. Soda will let the snap pea flavour come through more; tonic will play well with the peppery basil. Serve it in the style of Spanish gin tonica, loaded with aromatic garnishes, and you’ll add extra dimension to the layers of green.
1 oz Tanqueray Dry Gin
1 oz snap pea shrub (see recipe below)
4 oz soda water or tonic water
Cucumber ribbon, peppercorns, basil leaf and snap pea for garnish
Add gin and shrub to a glass and stir. Wrap a cucumber ribbon around the inside of the glass, and press it to the edge. Gently fill the glass with ice and top with soda or tonic water. Drop in a few peppercorns and garnish with a leaf of basil and a snap pea.
Snap Pea Shrub
1 cup sugar snap peas, finely sliced
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
Add all the ingredients to a mason jar and muddle them hard. Leave overnight to infuse. Fine strain into a clean container. Shrub will keep in the fridge for two weeks. (For more shrub recipes see our Farmer’s Market-inspired cocktails.)