To start our recipes off, I'd like to highlight one of my favorite activities after a long day at the Farm Aid office as we prepare for the concert: relaxing with a tasty beverage (or two, in this case)! Yes, fresh herbs, fruits, and even vegetables enhance cocktails of all types.
One of the first things I realized when I started making drinks was the difference using fresh-squeezed juices makes to the end product—no neon-green "sour mix" or "cosmo mix" with a list of artificial ingredients three paragraphs long are allowed in my house. So that's a good start and then adding something like fresh cucumbers and fresh basil, like in these two recipes, takes things over the top. When I visit the farmers market, I'm always looking out for anything I can experiment with eating or drinking.
Irma La Douce
(Created by LUPEC Boston)
This is enough to make one drink and it features a light and delicious cucumber flavor perfect for summertime sipping.
- 1 ½ oz gin (Hendrick's brand, with a subtle cucumber flavor is best, but a brand like Plymouth or others would also be delicious)
- ½ oz Green Chartreuse
- ½ oz fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice
- 2-3 slices of peeled cucumber
- ¼ oz simple syrup (1 part sugar mixed with 1 part water – shake or stir to combine)
Put the cucumber and simple syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle with a muddler or back of a wooden spoon or other tool. Pour other ingredients in and top with ice. Shake the mixture 10-15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of cucumber (and a sprig of mint if you've got some lying around).
Basil Limeade Slushies
(Adapted from Food & Wine)
And now a non-alcoholic drink the whole family can enjoy! These are also good made with a little light rum or vodka if you are so inclined.
Makes 6 servings.
- 4 cups ice
- 2 cups water
- 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
- 1 ½ cups lightly packed basil leaves
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¾ cup soda water or sparkling water
Combine all ingredients (except soda water) in a blender and blend until it's as slushy as you want. Pour the limeade into chilled glasses and top with 2 tablespoons of soda water and garnish with a couple more basil sprigs.
Come back all this week for more recipes (and the rest are all food, I promise). If you've got a favorite farmers market recipe or ingredient, feel free to share in the comments!
"Chartreuse" photo courtesy of flickr user Jeremy Brooks through use of Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license. "Basil" photo courtesy of Wikimedia author Fastily through use of Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.