Earth Day is celebrated on April 22nd and to honor what it stands for I am offering up truly "green", farm-fresh, organic ingredients and cocktails for spring. As an added bonus, I list the best fruits, veggies, herbs, spices, and florals to be used in cocktails, infused spirits, syrups, purees, and juices for the season, best way to prepare them, and what base spirits pair best with them. Thank you to Nicole Friend and my friends from over at Sauza Tequila for contributing. I am looking forward to a few complimentary bottles to arrive from then ina few weeks.
As the length of sunlight increases and the ice thaws, we gradually phase out spicy bitters, herbal cordials, dark spirits, and rich fortified wines, and lighten things up with blooming flavors, fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits, such dill, rhubarb, and strawberries. Once the trees begin to bud and bloom, we start working with tisanes, including chamomile, jasmine, and lemon verbena. Floral cordials and savory spirits, such as Aquavit and Blanco Tequila replace hearty spirits like Islay Scotch and aged Jamaican dark rums. Rhubarb and thyme start to arrive at the farmer’s market and everything else falls into place. It’s important to stay current on fresh produce releases.
Below is the list of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and flowers available in the spring months (some remain and crossover to the summer months) –
Spring Ingredients – kumquats, rhubarb, strawberries, kale, dill, cucumber, jasmine flower, chamomile, cardamom, lemongrass, blood oranges, Meyer lemon, nectarines, plums, peaches, passion fruit, and prickly pears. Gin, blanco tequila, vodka, flavored vodkas, aquavit, pisco, elderflower liqueur, aperol, crème yvette, vermouth, and champagne emerge as the go-to spirits with hundreds of infusions possible in spring. Also, enjoy these farm-fresh organic cocktails using all ORGANIC spirits and liqueurs and many of these spring ingredients.
Dried Jasmine Flower – infuse, tea, or syrup, best in vodka or gin
Nectarines – muddle or puree, best in brandy, rum, or whiskey
Blood Oranges – juice or muddle, best in gin, tequila, or vodka
Ginger – syrup, infuse, or juice, best in vodka or gin
Cucumber – muddle, juice, or syrup, best in vodka, gin, or tequila
Kumquats – muddle, best in gin, rum, whiskey, or vodka
Meyer Lemon – juice, best in gin, rum, tequila, or vodka
Dill – muddle or infuse, best in gin or vodka
Kale – muddle, puree, or juice, best in vodka or gin
Passion Fruit – puree, best in brandy, rum, or tequila
White Peaches – puree, best in brandy or whiskey
Dried Chamomile – syrup or tea, best in gin, vodka, or rum
Plums – muddle, best in brandy, gin, or whiskey
Prickly Pears – puree, best in rum, tequila, or whiskey
Strawberries – muddle or infuse, best in gin, rum, or tequila
Lemongrass – infuse or syrup, best in vodka or gin
Vanilla Bean – infuse or syrup, best in rum
(Photo and recipe courtesy of Sauza Tquila)
- 2 parts Sauza® Signature Blue Silver Tequila
- 3 parts honeydew melon puree
- 1 part agave nectar
- 1 honeydew melon skewer
Prep - Add ingredients to blender with ice and blend till smooth. Pour into glass and serve. Garnish with a honeydew melon skewer.
(Photo courtesy of Living Herbs)
- 2 oz TRU Organic Garden Vodka
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 3 English hothouse cucumber slices (leave peels on) and 2 large dill sprigs
- Cucumber ribbon and 1 dill sprig for garnish
Prep- Muddle cucumber slices and fresh dill with lemon juice and simple syrup for at least 20 seconds. Add ice. Shake very well and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish cucumber ribbon on a skewer or dill sprig.
(Photo courtesy of Recipe Girl)
- 1 ½ oz Light Rum
- ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 large basil leaf & orange slice
- Seltzer or Orange Seltzer
Prep – Muddle orange slice, basil, and lime juice in a mojito or highball glass without ice. Add ice and rum. Stir very well and fill with seltzer water or orange seltzer. Add some more basil leaves.
(Photo courtesy of Liquor.com)
- 1 ½ oz Raspberry Vodka or Any Other Flavored Vodka
- ½ oz Fresh Lime Juice
- Fill with Ginger Beer
Prep – Add all ingredients to an ice-filled copper mug, highball glass, or collins glass. Stir well. Garnish lime slice.
(Cover Photo courtesy of MNN)
- 1 ½ oz Prairie Organic Gin
- ½ oz KOVAL Orange Blossom Liqueur
- ¾ oz chamomile honey syrup
- ½ oz fresh pressed kale juice
- ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Chamomile buds
- Fresh kale leaf
Prep - Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake. Fine strain into a lowball glass. Fine strain into a lowball glass. Drop in large ice cube with kale leaf frozen inside (optional). Garnish with dried chamomile buds on top of kale leaf.
To make chamomile honey syrup
Use 1 cup local honey, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup dried chamomile flower (or chamomile tea). Add all ingredients to small pot and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 10 minutes; turn off heat and let cool. Fine strain into s sealed container and store in the refrigerator.