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Rouge Tomate's Spring Pea Mojito

Rouge Tomate's Spring Pea Mojito

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Rouge Tomate's Spring Pea Mojito

The Rouge Tomate's Spring Pea Mojito from Michelin-starred New York City restaurant, Rouge Tomate. With acclaimed Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier at its helm, Rouge Tomate's cocktail program boasts fresh juices utilizing the freshest seasonal produce to ensure they have not only the highest nutritional value but exceptional taste.


  • 1.5 Ounces Lavender Infused Rum
  • 2 Ounces Fresh organic pea juice
  • 1 Ounce Yuzu juice
  • 1/2 Ounce biodynamic elderflower syrup
  • 1 Ounce Mint juice (mint blended with water)

Bartenders are now turning out cocktails based on, yes, vegetables

It's easy to eat your veggies when they come with a buzz.

Seasonally-minded mixologists are increasingly using produce like kale, peas, carrots and cucumbers, adding them to vodka, tequila and rum.

Not only do these vegetables offer interesting flavor combinations, but some bartenders believe these juiced-up cocktails might actually be. healthy?

Seasonal restaurant Colonie in Brooklyn Heights serves up a $12 Cool Hand Cuke cocktail, made of fresh-squeezed cucumber juice, organic cucumber vodka, and mint syrup.

Colonie owner and mixologist Tamer Hamawi says he was "particularly interested in working with vegetables" for their cocktail menu, since unlike fruit, they were rarely used in mixed drinks.

"It's also about making drinks somewhat nutritious, as well," Hamawi says. "You can't deny that you're getting some nutrients in there, even though it's combined with alcohol. You're still going to get those nutrients into your body."

Other bars like to play doctor with their concoctions. Chinatown cocktail bar Apotheke calls their drinks "prescriptions" and mixes liquor with organic produce from local greenmarkets — or grown on their rooftop garden. One standout "prescription" is the Edamame and Shiso, made with vodka, edamame puree, muddled cucumber, shiso (an Asian herb) leaf, shaved ginger, and a "wasabi-pink Himalayan salt rim."

If you're hoping to sharpen your vision, Gran Electrica, a Mexican restaurant in DUMBO that has the same owners as Colonie, makes a seasonal orange-colored cocktail called the Margarita 20/20. It mixes carrot juice with blanco tequila, among other things.

And why bother choking down a wheatgrass shot when you could throw back a wheatgrass vodka cocktail at Candle 79 on the upper East Side?

The Wayland in the East Village makes the Garden Variety — a mean, bright-green margarita with kale juice. The drink started out as a health remedy for owner Jason Mendenhall, who also creates the cocktails. "Whenever I'd feel a little ill, I would drink kale juice, ginger juice, a little bit of cold-pressed green tea, agave nectar and lemon," he says.

One day when friends were over, inspiration struck, tequila was added, and the kale-juice margarita was born. It's one of the most popular drinks on their menu, which rotates out cocktails every 14 days — except for the Garden Variety.

Mendenhall credits its popularity to the flavor combination. And don't worry if you don't like kale. "Ginger is the most pronounced flavor in the drink," he says.

While Mendenhall wouldn't go so far to call his concoction healthy, "It almost tricks you into thinking you're doing something healthy," he says. "It has very healthy ingredients." For what it's worth, Mendenhall says he's drank six of them in an evening without getting a hangover.

But don't bank on getting your vitamins at the bar, warns Maria Bella, a registered dietitian with Top Balance Nutrition.

"Theoretically, you could" get the health benefits of the vegetables' nutrients from these cocktails, she says. However, "It really depends on the rest of the ingredients you're getting in that drink."

The calories from the liquor plus the simple syrups many mixed drinks include overrides the benefits of the veggie juice, according to Bella.


  • 2 ounces salt pork (diced)
  • 2 cups onions (diced)
  • 1 cup carrots (diced)
  • 1 cup celery (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart veal or chicken stock
  • 1 ham bone
  • Dash kosher salt (to taste)
  • Dash of sugar (to taste)
  • For Sachet:
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 to 4 fresh parsley stems
  • 8 to 10 black peppercorns (crushed)

Summer's Best Cocktails

We’ve waited all year for the warm weather, the sunshine, and of course, cool, summery cocktails. If you’re going to drink, New York is the place to do it. Where else can you get a snow cone doused with tequila? There’s spicy margaritas, pickled martinis, and even an oddly refreshing sugar snap pea libation at Rouge Tomate. There’s no better way to beat the heat then sipping a cocktail on a rooftop bar, lounging in a garden, or chilling inside by the air conditioner. We’ve tasted more than our fair share and rounded up a few of our favorite for 2011.

235 Mulberry St. between Prince and Spring Sts.
Phone: 212-965-0600

Negronis immediately transport us to Italy, so of course, this bitter orange cocktail is one of our favorite aperitifs. The negroni and its many variations at Rubirosa could compete with the best of them and that’s saying something in this city. Try the classic negroni or one of the riffs that rotate on the specials board. All of them are served in a martini glass with an orange peel. Whichever you choose will pair nicely with Rubirosa’s vodka pizza. It’s one of the best kept secrets of this Nolita pizza joint.


White & Church
Address: 281 Church St. at White St.
Phone: 212-226-1607

This Il Matto
redo swaps out the avant-garde (often bizarre) fare for more simple, subdued food, but they wisely kept their talented mixologist, Christina Bini, who came over from Italy just for the occasion. The new cocktail menu is just as creative and much more accessible with a terrific, daquiri-style cocktail called Summer. The finishing touch is a grasshopper, but you can ask for yours without if that’s not your cup of tea. Either way, we highly suggest you sample this creamy, cook blend of Batida de Coco, oatmeal milk, sugar and bamboo leaves, which is highly reminiscent of horchata.

McClure Pickle Martini
Bua Bar
Address: 122 St. Marks Place between First Ave. and Ave. A

We first fell in love with pickle juice in our martini at Cabrito, but since it closed, we’ve had to search elsewhere for a fix, which is how we fell upon Bua Bar. This Alphabet City joint lets you take your pick of vodka or gin, then adds a generous splash of McClure’s popular pickle juice and voila, a dirty, briny martini. Get there on the early side to grab one of the three tables on the front porch to soak up summer in the city in the great outdoors. You can even order a pickle platter to complement your martini.

Tequila Snow Cone
Zengo/La Biblioteca
Address: 622 Third Ave between 40th and 41st Sts.
Phone: 212-808-8110

If you loved snow cones growing up, you’ll like the grown up version at Zengo even better. This Latin American midtown spot laces their crushed ice cocktails with tequila and you can get one in Zengo’s dining room or its adjoining tequileria, La Biblioteca. If you ask us, the best part is that you don’t have choose between tamarind, hibiscus and strawberry. Instead, order a trio of the three flavors — an outstanding way to take the edge off a long work day.

The Hungry Roach

America, meet Rouge Tomate - the latest European import straight off of Fifth Avenue. No need to window shop past this one. There's room for all styles and sizes inside - as long as you are willing to check all insecurities at the door. I do think this restaurant was strategically placed. This may be a first-time experience where you feel so good after eating a three course meal that you head straight over to Madison and try on those clothes you were eyeing earlier. Originating in Brussels seven years ago, the restaurant has finally found its second home in New York City. My only question is why it has taken so long to get here?! In an age where obesity headlines American news, this is just what the neighborhood, city, and country ordered.

Rouge Tomate is the spa of all restaurants - focusing on balance and health in its food. Their concept dispels the myth that high-end dining is bad for you. I definitely feel that eating out too much (basically not being able to control ingredients) is why Americans are so unhealthy. And, let's be realistic - who really goes out and stops themselves from finishing off an amazing dish even though they are well aware that the portion could probably feed a small family? Well, head over to Rouge Tomate and you no longer have to rely on willpower. You can finish off an entire meal and not feel guilty about it. The chefs, working with nutritionists on each and every dish and drink, prepare everything so that you no longer have to think about being unhealthy. For just one meal, you can turn off your brain and let your stomach do the talking. And, the chefs guarantee to answer with balanced, delicious, and even hearty dishes - a combination that is truly hard to come by.

The best part about the experience is that it's not in your face trying to be healthy - that would be a complete turn off for me. I still like to envision a chef with butter, oil, and sugar running between burners. While this may not be the case in this kitchen, the menu looks like any other - offering everything from red meats to pastas to foie gras. However, I did love knowing deep down that no matter what I ordered, it wouldn't haunt me on the beaches of Charleston the next weekend. Since I can get beer or wine anywhere, I decided to start off with one of their signature juices - the Green Tornado - tarragon, spinach, butter lettuce, fennel, mint and lemon juice. My curiosity took over and I had to order it. Since it was front and center on the menu, I guess I should not have been surprised when it was extremely refreshing and tasty - basically a crisp, green lemonade.

The starters were my favorite part of the evening. We shared spring pea risotto, tuna poke, and white asparagus. The Tombo Tuna Poke was served with sugar snap peas, honshimeji mushrooms, jicama, and sesame. This was delicious. The raw fish was extremely fresh and cut into large chunks mixed perfectly with the bold flavors of the vegetables. I also loved the warm white and green asparagus with black trumpets, farm egg, dandelion, and Banyuls vinaigrette. This was a very hearty and slightly deceptive dish - making me think twice about how they could have possibly prepared it in such a healthy manner and yet, taste so good. But, the key at Rouge Tomate is to trust the chefs - and this was my first reminder to keep doing just that. The mains continued to be almost as baffling. While they all were extremely fresh and well-balanced, it amazed me how the chefs truly brought flavors together, again allowing the mind to forget about the restaurant's underlying mission. For those who like whole fish, the whole brook trout stuffed with wilted arugula and served with french green lentils, capers, and citrus gremolada is an excellent option. While served whole, the fish is deboned and extremely delicate and moist. I was also really impressed with the fettuccine with morel mushrooms, fava beans, parsley mint pesto, and toasted almond - spring is in the air (and plate)! It's impossible for me to pass up anything with the combination of fava beans and mint.

Now, at this point in the evening, some diners may claim to be full. Others, like myself, will admit to being full, but with a tiny section open for dessert. I recommend making room for a taste or two more - as the final touches are very good, yet modest in size. As mentioned earlier, stop thinking and just enjoy. Have faith in the chefs of Rouge Tomate as you can certainly handle one last innocent splurge. For the fruit lover, go for the Meyer lemon custard on olive oil cake served with frozen yogurt parfait and blood oranges. The chocolate lover should opt for the caramelized banana napoleon served with roasted banana sorbet and hot cocoa. Both are great, but certainly will not set you over the edge - and that's a promise. That dress down the street is still calling your name.

Like any great spa, there were numerous personal touches throughout the evening that made the entire experience memorable and borderline addictive. Yes, I will definitely be heading back to Rouge Tomate for more pampering in the near future. While the amuse-bouche at the start of the meal definitely set the stage, the palate cleanser before dessert certainly sealed the deal. Since I can admit I will never be able to rely on willpower when in the face of gourmet food, it's nice to know I can head to a spot where I can turn my brain off, but still be kept in line. Spa and dinner for the price of one. Now that's a recession deal if I've ever heard one.

Rouge Tomate
10 E. 60th st.
New York, NY 10022
FOO D RATING (Out of 5):

Shipping Schedule

"Agriculture and seeds" provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.

The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to further assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, to genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems, and ultimately to healthy people and communities.

5 Summer Cocktails That Are Actually (Almost) Good for You

Tequila doesn’t exactly do a body good. But sipping a late-summer marg can be a good thing, giving you a much-needed moment or two to sit still, sip, and recharge.

When you do imbibe, why not spike your hootch with health-boosting ingredients that help counter some of the liquor’s less-than-ideal effects, like antioxidant-packed berries or vitamin-heavy honeydew?

We went to the some of the city’s hottest healthy restaurants to get recipes for refreshing summer cocktails you can make at home&mdashall of which contain fresh, seasonal ingredients that, yes, you can feel totally good about. (Or scoot out of the office a little early, and let a pro make one for you.) &mdashLisa Elaine Held

Green Pea Mojito
Rouge Tomate

Fresh pea juice is the star of this mojito spin-off that’s made with fruit-of-the-moment yuzu and better-for-you-than-white-sugar organic agave.


1 ½ ounces house-made lavender-infused rum (mix lavender and rum in a clean jar and let sit&mdashinfusions can take several hours or weeks your call)
2 ounces fresh organic pea juice
1 ounce yuzu juice
¼ ounce organic agave
½ ounce Nikolaihof biodynamic elderflower syrup
1 ounce organic mint “juice” (a blend of mint and water)

1. In a mixing glass, add all ingredients except the mint juice.
2. Shake and pour in a highball glass over crushed ice.
3. Pour 1o ounces of mint juice on top of the crushed ice, which will have started to float.
4. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Hot Melon
Pure Food and Wine

Sarma Melngailis’ raw food landmark is known for its sake-based cocktails made with good-for-you ingredients. This sweet and spicy summer libation provides vitamins, minerals, and even some fiber thanks to its fresh melon base.


1 quart sake
3 jalapeños
1 honeydew melon
A few sprigs cilantro
Lemon or lime juice (to taste)
Agave, coconut nectar, or other sweetener

1. Cut the jalapeños open and place them in a glass container with the sake. Allow to infuse for at least 2 hours.
2. Blend the flesh of one honeydew melon with a tiny bit of water, a dash of lemon or lime juice, and a few sprigs of cilantro, yielding a smooth, runny puree. (It’s best to do this in a Vitamix blender, so you don’t end up with small specks of cilantro, but if you do, that’s okay, too! They’re only cocktails after all.) You may also want to add a touch of agave nectar, coconut nectar, or other sweetener, to taste.
3. Shake one-part sake to one-part melon mix, over ice. Pour, and serve! (Feeling extra fancy? At Pure, they salt the rim of a martini glass with a mix of pink himalayan salt and the dried, grated rind of yuzu, a meyer lemon, or lime.)

The Sleepover
DBGB Kitchen And Bar

Leave it to a master chef like Daniel Boulud to come up with maybe the perfect late summer cocktail, full of watermelon, pineapple, lemon, and lime juice. It’s like a refreshing, alcoholic multi-vitamin.


1 ½ ounces tequila
2 ounces watermelon juice
½ ounce lime juice
½ ounce lemon-juniper syrup
1 ounce pineapple juice
Candied watermelon rind (available at specialty food stores, or make your own)

1. In a shaker with ice, combine all liquids and stir.
2. Strain and pour over ice.
3. Garnish with watermelon rind!

Summer Spritzer

Make the most of all those berry baskets you got at the farmers’ market with this antioxidant powerhouse of a cocktail. Bubbly bonus! The Cava adds a slight summer sparkle.


2 blackberries
6 blueberries
1 strawberry
1 ½ ounces gin
1 ounce basil syrup

1. Muddle berries in a mixing glass (you can use a long wooden spoon).
2. Add gin and basil syrup. Shake!
3. Top with a touch of Cava.

Tres Verdes Margarita
Gotham Bar and Grill

Gotham is home to greenmarket-obsessed chef Alfred Portale, so it’s no surprise that his twist on a margarita includes some green&mdashin this case, avocado, giving it a dose of good, healthy fats.


1 ½ ounces jalapeño-infused tequila (Gotham uses Dulce Vida Blanco, and 1 jalapeño&mdashwith most seeds removed&mdashper one 1-liter bottle of tequila. Let sit for several hours)
¾ ounce lime juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
¾ ounce Luxardo Triplum Triple Sec
2 spoons of muddled avocado juice (muddle with lime juice)

1. Add contents to a shaker with ice.
2. Shake and strain! (Gotham’s big on serving this drink in Nick & Nora martini glasses, like the one shown here.)

More Reading

Top 10 chickpea recipes

This lovely legume is one of our favourite storecupboard saviours. It’s cheap, high in protein and can be transformed into a myriad of marvellous dishes. From brilliant burgers for a casual DIY dinner to a quick, silky hummus for a meze feast, there’s a chickpea recipe for every ocassion.

Whether you’re making a substantial spicy curry for the family to enjoy, or a summery sweet potato topped with chickpeas and tahini yogurt, chickpeas are ideal for simple, satisfying suppers.

Check out our ultimate chickpea collection for more delicious ways to serve this extra-special tinned staple.

1. Chickpea curry

Even more chickpea curries…

2. Chickpea salad

Even more chickpea salads…

3. Hummus

Even more hummus recipes…

4. Chickpea hash

Even more chickpea hashes…

5. Chickpea wraps

Even more chickpea wraps…

6. Chickpea burgers

Even more chickpea burgers…

7. Chickpea bakes

Even more chickpea bakes…

8. Falafel

Even more falafel recipes..

9. Chickpea soups

Even more chickpea soups…

10. Chickpea stews and casseroles

Even more chickpea stews…

Enjoyed these recipes? Check out our other budget meal ideas…

What’s your favourite recipe for a tin of chickpeas? Leave a comment below…

As many countries urge populations to stay at home, many of us are paying more attention to our diets and how the food we eat can support our health. To help sort out the fact from the fiction, BBC Future is updating some of their most popular nutrition stories from their archive.

Lucy Bee’s Turmeric Thai Prawns With Mojito Dressing

For the Thai paste:
• 3 garlic cloves
• 1-2 red chillies, to taste (remove seeds for less spice)
• 3-4 tsp. lemongrass paste
• A pinch of Lucy Bee Himalayan Salt and Lucy Bee Whole Black Peppercorns, to season
• 1 ½ tsp. Lucy Bee Turmeric Powder
• 2 tbsp. Lucy Bee Coconut Oil, softened/melted plus 1 tsp. extra for cooking
• 150g raw king prawns

For the mojito cream:
• 300g silken tofu, drained
• 1 handful of fresh mint leaves
• 1-2 tsp. Lucy Bee Lucuma Powder
• Juice and zest of 1 lime

For the warmed green salad:
• 60g pea shoots
• 3-4 spring onions, sliced
• 75g tender stem broccoli
• 1 large courgette, ribboned with a peeler
• 80g green beans, halved
• 80g edamame beans
• 75g pomegranate seeds

For the Thai paste:
1 Add all of the Thai paste ingredients (except for the king prawns) to a blender and blend together to make a paste – it does not need to be completely smooth, it tastes best with a few chunks.
2 Adjust the spice accordingly, to suit your taste. Mix the paste in with the prawns and set aside to marinate for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.

For the mojito cream:
1 In a clean blender, combine all of the mojito cream ingredients and sweeten to taste with Lucy Bee Lucuma Powder. Set this aside in the fridge for later.

For the salad:
1 Put the green beans and tender stem broccoli in a pan of lightly salted boiling water, cook for 4 minutes until the stem of the broccoli is cooked through.
2 Drain and rinse with clean, cold water. Alternatively, steam to cook as required.
3 Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp. Lucy Bee Coconut Oil in a pan, add the marinated prawn mixture and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on a medium heat, or until cooked through.
4 Take the pan off the heat and set aside to begin assembling the bowl.
5 Start with the pea shoots covering the base of the bowl/plate, followed by curls of the courgette ribbon, a sprinkling of edamame beans, tender stem broccoli, green beans and spring onions.
6 Place half the prawn mixture on both plates on top of the salad and drizzle with the mojito dressing. Finally, top with pomegranate seeds, serve and enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of Lucy Bee, see here for more

Even in Winter, Seasonal Ingredients Inspire Cocktails That Thaw Both Body and Soul

This article appears in February/March 2017: Issue No. 49 of Edible Manhattan.

Though it’s common to rely on locally sourced maple, eggs and honey through the colder months, there are plenty of other lively components available.

While we often talk about “fresh” when we talk about local produce, there are whole worlds—like infusion, dehydration, pickling and jam-like preservation—that can stretch the seasons.

A little extra creativity is just the ticket in the gray, slow days of winter, where what feels “fresh” may seem too few and far between. Those who patronize the city’s farmers markets or have a CSA share know this feeling well. As much as we all love that bountiful golden array of squash and apples at first, by midwinter a true root vegetable ennui has set in, and frankly, we could use a drink.

Coming to the rescue are New York City’s bartenders and beverage experts—an unflappable stock of inspired, inspiring culinary minds who won’t let a little uniformity of color in the garden slow them down. Across the city, their smart hands move from bar shelf to produce basket, turning seasonally available ingredients into cocktails that thaw both the body and soul.

Though it’s common to rely on locally sourced maple, eggs and honey through the colder months, there are plenty of lively components available at the city’s farmers markets—from dandelion greens to gooseberries—that can tweak traditional drinks to be suited to the current temperature and temperament.

“There’s a seasonality to what we want to drink as well as what’s available at the market,” says Jenn Smith, bar veteran, executive director of the New York Cider Association and former manager of the Astor Center , who continues to serve as an instructor there by teaching classes like “ Greenmarket Cocktails .”

In her class, students get hands-on experience in building beverages that combine appropriate spirits with current harvest offerings. “The only rule is there’s no vodka allowed,” cautions Smith, “because that’s really cheating. It’s not difficult to make a balanced flavor profile when one of your ingredients has no flavor at all.”

Smith likes to greet her students with a Champagne-cocktail-inspired drink to set the tone, incorporating a current farmers market ingredient and topped with sparkling wine or cider. “When there’s sweet apple cider or fresh apple juice [at the market], or sometimes you’ll also see fresh Concord grape juice there, you can make beautiful syrups just by reducing those ingredients and topping that up with a great New York State sparkling dry cider,” says Smith. “It’s more of the sum of its parts.”

Aska’s head bartender Selma Slabiak grew up in Scandinavia, so is no stranger to cold winters.

Through our long winters, Smith finds she turns to comforting ingredients, like a butternut squash–brown sugar syrup, the ubiquitous apple or even sweet potato. And as spring begins to peek its little chutes above ground, the doorway opens to other favorites, like arugula, asparagus—best as a garnish—ramps and even peas. Whether served as a fresh garnish or a pickled garnish, peas shine in a cocktail, says Smith. She also likes them muddled with mint, where “their respective herbaceous and vegetable qualities come through.” But there’s the X-factor, too, she says: “Peas additionally give drinks an unearthly green color,” she says, “It’s like an ectoplasm. It’s so cool.”

And as far as visual drama goes, we’ve all seen the beauty of the beet—from an earthy partner to warming whiskey to a tangy, bright shrub. But many New York bartenders strive to go beyond the beet and see cold-weather fresh ingredients not as a bartender’s challenge, but as part of the year’s natural cycle.

“I grew up in Scandinavia, so I’m no stranger to cold winters. I learned early on how to get the most out of the seasons,” says Aska ‘s head bartender Selma Slabiak. “Nordic cuisine utilizes many ingredients generally that are thought of as winter ingredients in the U.S. Root vegetables such as beets, sunchokes and turnips have a lot of flavor, and you can roast, pickle or use fresh to make them even more interesting.”

Many New York bartenders strive to see cold-weather fresh ingredients not as a bartender’s challenge, but as part of the year’s natural cycle.

At Aska, the entirety of the food and bar programs—beyond the spirits themselves—rely on seasonal and local ingredients, explains Slabiak. “We don’t use citrus for that exact reason, which in a beverage program can be quite challenging,” she says. Beyond taking advantage of local markets, Slabiak relies on foraging guides like The Flavor Bible and The Drunken Botanist , studying and tasting as she goes through the year. Tart sea buckthorns (nonnative yellowish-orange egg-shape berries) are one of her favorite syrup ingredients, and by very early spring, she’s looking to nettles, spruce tips, woodruff (nonnative woodland groundcover with hay-like fragrance), ramsons (nonnative chive relative), sorrel, goutweed (nonnative member of the carrot family)—and even flowers like daisies and violets—to round out her repertoire. “You can never go too far,” she says, “as long as you understand the flavors of both the greens and the spirit you use and how to mix them properly.”

And while we often talk about “fresh” when we talk about local produce, there are whole worlds—like infusion, dehydration, pickling and jam-like preservation—that can stretch the seasons past a botanical ingredient’s brief window of fame on the farm stand. Whether it’s pickling ramps for beguiling martinis, juicing and freezing vegetables or creating sweet preserves of those very late or very early berries, there are myriad ways to transition the flavors of winter’s shoulder months into seasonally appropriate concoctions that last well beyond their short lives.

At Chelsea’s Rouge Tomate , head bartender Cristian Molina says winter drink-building “is in fact great, because it asks us to be very creative—exploring preservation techniques or new ingredients like root vegetables, herbs, yam, pumpkin, etcetera.” Molina’s also fond of traditional flavor motifs, like apple and ginger syrup. “It requires very minimal sugar and a little on a cocktail or tea goes a long way.”

At Aska, the entirety of the food and bar programs—beyond the spirits themselves—rely on seasonal and local ingredients.

While it may be unexpected, celery, and its relative celeriac, are also ideal cold-weather ingredients, says Amor y Amargo ‘s Sother Teague. “Celery is a really good one—it’s really wintery, and celeriac is good for juicing. I do some celery infusions into aquavit, and I’ve also infused celery into everything white—blanco tequila, white rum, gin, vodka—it’s so herbaceous and clean.”

Lest we forget the herb garden, Smith points to woody herbs and microgreens as seasonal wayfinders for the creative bartender like using sorrel or dandelion greens for muddling into a bitter gin cocktail. “Bitter ingredients stimulate certain hormones in our body and sort of kick-start everything, and that’s what I look forward to in the spring,” says Smith. “In the spring your body craves bitter longer, and you’re anticipating the ramps and the equinox and Easter and all of that.”

“You can never go too far,” says Slabiak, “as long as you understand the flavors of both the greens and the spirit you use, and how to mix them properly.”

Teague, too, prefers winter herbs to warm the season. “They’re seasonal but they also pair with what’s already going on in your dining life at this time, too, like rosemary and oregano. Rosemary I particularly enjoy because it’s so oily, but I also like to burn it,” says Teague, who employs the herb by charring and rapid-infusing it, building the drink over the top of the sprig.

And of course when bridging the gap between winter’s savory herbs and veggies and the brightening onset of spring, there’s one early riser that nearly every bartender can agree on: versatile, vegetal, tart, bright rhubarb.

“Rhubarb’s a common ingredient in tons of different amari and bitters,” says Teague, “But as a fresh product it’s pretty tart. I’ve been known to pickle rhubarb and use the brine in drinks and I’ve actually made rhubarb syrups by a similar process of steeping rhubarb in simple syrup—that’s a little bit more savory.”

Seasonal herbs can bring fresh flavor to winter cocktails.

Rhubarb provides a little bit of a cheat, too, for market-oriented bartenders who want some nuances of flavor that New York geography simply can’t provide, says Smith.

“If you’re interested in trying to make a 500-mile cocktail in the Northeast, you’re fine until you want to make something with citrus,” says Smith. “But with rhubarb you can successfully make a sour cocktail leveraging rhubarb in place of citrus.”

Rhubarb, celeriac, squash, beets, nettles, spruce tips, apples, pears, arugula—come to think of it, maybe the colder months are pretty abundant after all. We’ll happily raise a glass to that.


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