Down to Earth

To add savory complexity to cocktails, ­bartenders are increasingly using produce-infused juices, ­syrups, and spirits. Ahead, six new ways to drink your ­vegetables.
vegetable infused cocktail recipes

Photograph by Bruce Peterson

TRY IT AT HOME

The “Beet at Joe’s” Cocktail, Ames Street Deli

1 ½ oz. reposado tequila (such as Milagro)
¾ oz. fresh raw beet juice
½ oz. Zucca
¼ oz. yellow Chartreuse
oz. absinthe (such as Kübler), to rinse the glass
1 slice orange
Dash of Fee Brothers barrel-aged bitters

Combine ingredients in a large glass, stir with ice, and strain into a glass that’s been rinsed with absinthe. Float half an orange wheel to garnish. —Recipe courtesy of Sam Treadway

vegetable infused cocktail recipes

DO YOU LIKE…MEZCAL?

Try: Ancho Reyes

Made from ancho chilies, this Mexican liqueur lacks the leathery smoke of mezcal but packs a similar savory punch. The chilies provide a “great, high-quality slow burn,” says Patrick Gaggiano, the bar manager at Viale, in Central Square. It’s a creeping, sweet-spicy heat that’s bold, but not overwhelming. Not sure if it’s for you? Gaggiano suggests trying it first in a classic daiquiri.

 vegetable infused cocktail recipes

DO YOU LIKE…AQUAVIT?

Try: Kummel

A heady mix of caraway, fennel, and cumin, this liqueur falls into the “a little goes a long way” category. At Ames Street Deli, in Kendall Square, bar manager Sam Treadway spritzes Kummel atop a Moscow Mule variation that’s spiked with celery bitters and dry vermouth. “You smell this weird cumin flavor from the Kummel, but then the sip is a dry, crisp ginger and lime,” Treadway says.

vegetable infused cocktail recipes

DO YOU LIKE…AMARI?

Try: Zucca

If your after-dinner drink tends to veer bittersweet, pass over the Fernet Branca in favor of this rhubarb-based digestíf. “We are still under the umbrella of dark and bitter and funky, but there’s some other stuff going on that makes it a little more accessible,” says Sean Sullivan, bar manager at Taberna de Haro’s Straight Law. “It has that earthy vegetal stuff from rhubarb root, but it’s a little softer.”

vegetable infused cocktail recipes

DO YOU LIKE…EVERYTHING?

Try: Poitín

The Irish answer to moonshine, Poitín (pwa-teen) was one of the first spirits distilled in Ireland, predating even whiskey. Due to its strength, the potato-, beet-, or malted barley–based beverage was banned in Ireland for centuries and only just landed here. “It’s like a vodka, but I think it drinks a little more like a white whiskey,” says Harvest bar manager Dani Willcutt, who uses a sugar beet–based version from Glendalough.

OR, TRY THIS

To add vegetal notes to cocktails without sacrificing sweetness, bartenders have been turning to root-veggie-based syrups. At Bondir Concord, barman Alex Howell creates his own version with carrots for his scotch-, Cynar-, and lemon-based “Curran Sour.” Want to try your own? Howell suggests combining equal parts carrot juice and granulated white sugar (by weight) in a saucepan, cooking over low heat until the sugar is dissolved, and then straining it (it’ll keep in the fridge).


Leah Mennies
Leah Mennies Leah Mennies, Senior Food Editor at Boston Magazine lmennies@bostonmagazine.com