Farm-to-table isn't a movement that's just limited to the plate in front of you. The beverage industry has caught on to the bigger picture of sustainability in the spirits they produce as well as the cocktails that spring forth from them. You may remember our post, 10 Atlanta Food Experts Share 2015 Farm-to-Table Trends/Predictions, where we asked notable Atlanta chefs and thought leaders in the farm-to-table space where they saw it progressing in 2015 and how they are pushing it forward. That post garnered an awesome response, so this time we've got some of ATL's premier drink slingers to weigh in on how they're utilizing sustainable/farm-fresh ingredients in their cocktails and how they think it's affecting the bar industry. There's also a few cocktails in the mix that you can make at home. Cheers y'all!
Tiffanie Barierre' - Master Mixologist, One Flew South
"I work for Duane Nutter. His style of cooking is international influenced with a indeed Louisiana touch. Using fresh ingredients is the only way we go. I used some thing fresh from the walk in every creation on our menu. Spirits are important yet fresh produce makes those fresh ingredients enhance their greatness. It turns bartenders into "liquid chefs." It connects the chef to the front of the house beyond the plate. It allows a story of produce, seasons, and shows the house are comrades to the palate."
Featured Cocktail: Yellow Brick Road
- 1 1/2 oz. Dry Gin (I enjoy Bluecoat)
- 1/2 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower
- 3/4 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
- 1/2 oz. Lemon juice
- 2 Muddled Yellow Golden Beets*
Muddle beets. Combine liquids with beets in tin and shake hard with ice. Double strain into rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with large mint sprig.
*Peel and boil 2 yellow beets until tender. Once cooled slice into 6 slices and store in glass container in the fridge.
Julian Goglia - Partner/Beverage Director, The Pinewood Tippling Room
"We work with numerous local farmers and organizations, such as Concrete Jungle, to expand our range of local produce. We've really loved getting to play with some pretty esoteric fruits like service berries, nanking cherries, shishito peppers, persimmons, etc. One of our favorite cocktails at The Pinewood is our Burn The Village. It's a gin and bubbly based drink using flying dragon citrus foraged locally by the people behind Concrete Jungle.
The farm-to-table movement has definitely brought attention to what's going into our glasses and onto plates. The regionalizing of cocktails has been one of the more interesting aspects I've noticed. At The Pinewood we have numerous drinks featuring ingredients that can only be found naturally in Georgia. I've seen similar instances in plenty of other cities around the country."
Featured Cocktail: Burn The Village
- Bombay Dry Gin
- Dolin Véritable Génépy Des Alpes
- GA Flying Dragon Citrus
- Sand Pear Shrub
- Flamed Absinthe Verte
Noriko Boston - Mixologist, Chef and Host, Cocktails in the Kitchen
"I'm using these ingredients whenever possible. My most famous cocktails use sustainable/farm-fresh ingredients. I especially use the mint that I grow in my backyard when I create cocktails at home. In my most famous cocktails (below), I use local honey from Atlanta Honey Company located in Dahlonega, GA. The use of farm fresh ingredients translates to just feeling better about the product you serve. It also tastes better and is often times cheaper than purchasing from Publix or Kroger for things like mint and Thyme.
I know that most top restaurants utilize local farmers markets to get their products as well as assuring fresh juices and garnishes are used in craft cocktails. The use of fresh ingredients is a must in the craft cocktail industry."
Featured Cocktail: Lemon Berry Honey Cocktail
- 4 oz. Lemon San Pellegrino
- 2 oz. Vodka
- 2 oz. Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup
In a medium saucepan, stir together water, sugar, honey and blueberries. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let mixture simmer until sugar is completely dissolves. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 25 minutes.
Strain blueberries from syrup mixture and let cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator.
Mix into lemonade or cocktails for a refreshing beverage.
Daniel Burger - Lead Bartender, TRACE
"The entire cocktail program hinges on farm fresh approach to our offerings to the guest. I work closely with Chef Shean about the products he is currently using and what items will be available in the near future. I want there to be a close connection between the items guests are tasting from the kitchen, which will tie into what I'm offering at the bar.
I'm a huge opponent of artificial flavoring for cocktails. Any flavor you will experience, whether it's fruity, sour, a purée etc. — I want my hands to be responsible for producing it.
I feel having a more direct access to products has made it easier and more challenging for us creative minds behind the bar. It gives us a new level of freedom with concoctions. We are using herbs, fruits and even spices in different aspects from before. There is a huge exploration with infusions of spirits and the reemergence of shrubs and bitters. I take it as a big honor and task to show these fresh ingredients in the best light."
Rebekah Armstrong - Lead Bartender, Saltyard
"I'm using fresh ginger, local honey and fresh squeezed lemon with a hand crafted bourbon in our cocktails. It really makes all of the ingredients you use in a cocktail shine so much more than when you use anything processed. You can really taste how fresh everything is."
Featured Cocktail: The Root Of All Evil
- Cleveland Bourbon
- Local honey
- Simple syrup
- Fresh muddled ginger
- Candied ginger garnish