While spending the weekend in Stonington, CT, we ran across a restaurant bar that stocked some slightly-beyond-ordinary items. They are items many gardeners may have a superfluity of at this time of year. The Water Street Café is the name of the place and the bartender, Karen, was kind enough to share her recipes. She may have deliberately left things out (they do that sometimes), so feel free to experiment with and amend these.
Rim a rocks glass with sugar. Throw in a small bunch of basil leaves (about 6-7). Add about 2 oz. of chilled simple syrup (half sugar/half water) in which you have macerated a big bunch of basil leaves and some black pepper (strained out after a couple hours in the hot liquid). (You’ll want to have made this in advance.) Give the basil leaves in the glass a few grinds with a pestle, similar to what you’d do if you were making a mint julep. Squeeze in ¼ lime, leaving the lime rind in the glass. Add 1.5 oz. of rum and fill the glass with ice. Stir and garnish with a slice of lime.
My notes: this tastes better the more it sits. Also, the basil simple syrup is delicious and I’m sure could find nonalcoholic uses, as in lemonade.
Make the tomato water. Throw 4-5 fresh tomatoes in the blender. Let the mixture drip through a sieve lined with cooking gauze or a coffee filter. Chill and mix with equal parts vodka or gin in a shaker with ice. Garnish with basil and a cherry tomato (organic and preferably heirloom). I think I’d probably serve this over ice as well; in hot weather martinis can get disagreeably warm pretty quickly.
I tasted the tomato water solo and it is really, really good: a clear, lively flavor, much better than tomato juice for this purpose. It does look like water too. I wonder if she salted it though; she may have.
With this post, I inaugurate the Garden Rant “Drink This” category. As one way of filling it, this fall I’ll be visiting wineries near and far and interviewing growers and winemakers (New York State and Southern Ontario both have well-established viticultural regions). The category won’t be limited to wine, though; it will include any agriculturally produced liquid that one can ingest without serious harm.
Oh, and do any of you make drinks that utilize your gardens? Please feel free to share!