By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
It’s been quite a summer, with COVID-19, nationwide protests and calls for police reforms, presidential politics, school reopenings, and the fate of the U.S. postal service dominating the news.
Still, we’re surviving, thanks to the best local foods and drinks that our vendors bring each week to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
In that spirit, we suggest a brief celebration. Visit the market and fill your basket with what you need for your upcoming meals. Top it off with a bottle of a handcrafted artisanal liquor and the ingredients for a cocktail or two.
The market’s three spirits vendors are Lake George Distilling Company, Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery, and Yankee Distillers. Collectively, they bring gin, vodka, and whiskey to the market each Saturday, not to mention fruit- and spice-infused spirits, such as Lake George’s Apple Pie Moonshine and its Lake George Lemonade. A simple quarter-cup pour from one of their bottles over two or three cubes of ice makes a hearty but not too boozy cocktail in and of itself.
If you want something a little more fancy, try these suggestions:
● Lavender lemonade cocktail. Yankee’s Steve Hamilton recommends either vodka or bourbon for this beverage made with Slate Valley Farm’s lavender lemonade and freshly chopped cucumber from one of the market’s produce vendors. Stripe off some of the outer cucumber skin with a vegetable peeler and chop the cucumber. Place it in a cup with ice cubes, and add one part spirit and three parts lavender lemonade. The lemonade lightens the intensity of the liquor, while the lavender and cucumber impart a floral freshness. I tried this concoction with bourbon and found it delicious.
● Gin-and-tonic with celery. Springbrook Hollow’s Tara Solomon suggests muddling a bit of chopped celery in the classic gin and tonic beverage consisting approximately of one part gin, two parts tonic, and ice. She also suggests allowing the celery to remain in the glass until the beverage has been consumed for snacking. Cucumber makes an excellent alternative.
● Mocha and mint whiskey. Hamilton suggests a malt whiskey for this cocktail, which is made with coffee and chocolate milk from the market’s new Bunker Hill Dairy vendor. It can be made with a take-home version of the mocha drink that Something’s Brewing offers. A little bit of crushed mint adds a flavorful boost.
Just remember, no drinking at the market.
This week’s recipe: Bourbon Peach Smash