We all need to eat more vegetables. I think I’ve covered this with the occasional green juice and the often sad lunchtime salad, but keeping a list of how many actual veggies I’ve consumed in the last week leaves my imaginary intake quite short. The array of colorful and fragrant produce is evocative, and as you wander through a farmer’s market or well-stocked vegetable aisle you’ll think, “Wow, that radicchio is beautiful. Cocktail.” I wonder if I can do it!”
And the problem is, you can. Many cocktails, especially Bloody Marys, include pickled vegetables and fresh vegetables as part of their ingredient list. But beyond mixology, vegetables can also be used to produce alcohol itself. It’s part of the great human tradition of taking whatever plants you can get from your garden and trying to make sake out of them.
In many cases, vegetable ingredients are simply part of the flavor of the liqueur or included as a saturating infusion of neutral spirits. This includes the now ubiquitous cucumber vodka, Garlic Farm’s Garlic Vodka (thegarlicfarm.co.uk/product/black-garlic-vodka) and Northern Latitudes Distillery’s Horseradish Vodka (spirithub.com/products/northern-latitudes). -distillery-horseradish-vodka), all of which are great additions to your next Bloody Mary. A more popular and ubiquitous example is Cynar, a particularly bitter herbal aperitif from Italy, which features artichoke prominently on the label and flavor profile. In fact, Cynar doesn’t taste like much. favorite such as artichokes reminiscent of artichoke.
The benefits of vegetables don’t stop there. Apologue offers a vegetable-based celery root liqueur containing celery and celery stalks (apologueliqueurs.com/liqueurs/celery-root), and Tamworth Distilling offers beetroot spirits (tamworthdistilling.com/spirits/art-in-the-age liqueur). -series). /beet-root/), but sugar beets are a hidden source of cheap sugar found in many alcohols, so it’s no big deal.
Less appealing to some is Italian company Regina’s onion wine (italianfoodexcellence.com/regina-the-first-italian-onion-licur/). It’s said to be “inspired by ancient medicine recipes,” and reviews say it has a certain punitive quality to the flavor that reveals its provenance. LA’s Ving offers a moderately healthy-sounding kale-infused vodka with lemon and cucumber. Even your more biased veggies aren’t safe. A British company called Tenderstem, which grows broccoli, has combined their product with Chardonnay to create a cruciferous tipple called Tenderney.
But beyond the leachate, you also get the alcohol that the vegetables form part of the fermented mash itself.Root vegetables, with their sugar and starchy composition, are perfect for this.The most obvious of these is the potato. Advertising gimmicks and rote tricks have led to the misconception that vodka is primarily made from potatoes, which is far from true. Vodka was and still is largely made from wheat, but in the 18th century Polish farmers began growing potatoes as a cheap alternative to wheat, and Polish distilleries used those potatoes to make vodka. I started making Modern potato vodka accounts for only about 3% of the global vodka market and runs the gamut from fancy to rotten, with Chopin being one of the high-end products (although “high-end” when it comes to vodka). What actually means is much debated, some say it means nothing).
But why stop at potatoes? Some British farmers follow this 18th-century recipe from Hannah Grasse’s best-selling book, The Art of Cookery Made Plain, exchanging large amounts of turnips for cider apples in her press and making ‘turnip wine’. Producing literally boosted the turnip harvest.Easy”: “Take a bunch of turnips, peel them, slice them and put them in the cider press [sic], squeeze all the juice well. Get 3 pounds of sugar cubes for every gallon of juice, get a container big enough to hold the juice, and put the sugar in the container. Also, add half a pint of brandy for every gallon of juice. Pour some juice and put something on the stopper for a week and see if it works. If so, don’t stop it until it’s done working. ”
In this vein, Corbin Cash produces a liqueur made from sweet potatoes (bittersandbottles.com/products/corbin-cash-sweet-potato-licur). The twist is so obvious it makes me wonder why it’s not more popular. Sweet potatoes were everyone’s favorite virtue starch. Now cassava, aka manioc, aka yuca (sorry, sweet potato), has long been a central ingredient in cassava beer, aka kashiri. Kashiri is an indigenous drink from regions of South America, including Suriname and Guyana, made from fermented roots. themselves. In areas like Nigeria where grains are scarce, the beer is growing in popularity and may be available as an alternative beer among wheat-shy Americans.
If you want to capture the spirit of the garden, farmers market, or PCC produce section, you can try the infused vegetable liqueur. There are many recipes on the Internet. Stick to organic (pesticide-free) produce, then soak it in your neutral spirit of choice (vodka, grappa, white rum, etc.) and let it sit in the jar for a while: weeks or months. A jar of beets, turnips, or endive on the counter (why!?) also serves as a reminder that you should be eating those leftover fancy veggies you stash in your vegetable drawer a week ago. Unlike alcohol, vegetables don’t get better with age.