We love when spring hits because so many awesome local farmers markets open up shop again for the warmers months. They’re obviously great for buying yummy foods for your general eating pleasure, but they’re also a mecca for alcohol-related ingredients. A variety of products that you find at the farmers market can help you create some outstanding drinks, especially if you look for ingredients that are especially fresh and in season this spring.
Keep these ideas in mind next time you find yourself at a farmers market this season:
Rhubarb. Rhubarb is one of those mysterious vegetables (yes, it’s a vegetable) that we know our grandma’s liked to combine with strawberries in pies, but aside from that, we don’t know how the heck to use it. Mixologists are obsessed with rhubarb’s tart flavor and love to use it in all sorts of spring cocktails. We think an awesome use for rhubarb is to make it into a shrub (a drinking vinegar) because you can make a whole batch that will last you all year until rhubarb is in season again.
Asparagus. Asparagus may not seem like a natural drink ingredient in any way, shape or form, but we love the idea of using it to create an asparagus-infused vodka. Not sure what to do with it? The Black Forest Inn in Minneapolis used it in a “Bloody AsparaMary” – ingredients included an asparagus-infused Bloody Mary mix and asparagus-infused vodka topped with a lemon wedge and asparagus spear for garnish.
Strawberries. If the idea of rhubarb or asparagus is just too “weird” for you, go for some classic strawberries. They have an impressive talent for making pretty much any drink taste delicious, so you can really get creative without going too far out of your comfort zone. To begin with, throw them in a frozen daiquiri to see what a difference fresh strawberries make in the taste.
Milk or Cream. So many great drinks use dairy products and their flavor will truly benefit from local milk or cream. If you like to keep things simple, try making a White Russian. If you’re feeling adventurous, make some beer ice cream. It’s not technically a drink, but damnit, it’s delicious.