If you stop and think about it, you can probably come up with a few cocktails that incorporate vegetables — Bloody Mary’s, Mojitos made with cucumber, or even a jalapeño-infused Margarita. And while fruits are still far more popular than vegetables when it comes to cocktail flavors, don’t count out the veggies just yet.
According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2018 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, the top of the alcohol trend list is culinary cocktails. Look a little further into that trend, and it’s easy to see that savory, vegetable-driven drinks are leading the charge.
In FSR Magazine, a recent article detailed how we’ve come such a long way from celery and tomato juice in such a short amount of time.
“I really like that savory aspect vegetables bring,” Jeff Williams, executive chef in Chicago’s The Press Room, said in the article. “It adds a layer of complexity to the cocktail. The next cool thing is using new or atypical ingredients you don’t use every day.”
One of the cocktails found at The Press Room is the Northman, which uses blanched arugula that is cooked in simple syrup. The mixture is puréed, strained, and eventually is added to pear brandy, aquavite, and lemon.
In bars from Nashville to Las Vegas, the trend of embracing vegetables is expected to continue, in large part because bartenders seem to be enjoying it. As for their guests? They get a little peace of mind.
“It’s the perception of healthiness,” said Mike Ryan, director of bars for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “Guests feel it’s a way to get their antioxidants.”
One of the more modern uses of vegetables in cocktails is the Gin Tonica, the Spanish version of the Gin and Tonic that is often made with an array of different herbs and vegetables to bring out the flavors in the gin and tonic selections.
Though some traditionalists in Spain jokingly call some of these concoctions “gin salads,” others have fully embraced the use of vegetables like red peppers and cucumbers with herbs like rosemary and thyme. And for those who do embrace the use of vegetables, there needs to be a place on the bar to properly store them in ideal conditions.