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Garden Cocktails (for a Good Cause) from Lanai Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Friday, 03 February 2012 09:39

Four Seasons Lanai Jeremy SidmanThere are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce and then there are cocktails that are eco-friendly because they use local organic produce AND help restore native environments. That would be the Cocktail with a Cause, found at the Four Seasons Resorts on Lanai. Created by Beverage Manager Jeremy Sidman (pictured left), the Tree-tini not only highlights local flavors but the proceeds from its sale are used to help restore native plant seedlings along the Koloiki Ridgeland on the island through the Four Seasons' partnership with the Lanai Native Species Recovery Program. Sidman created the program to help support their overall farm-to-table philosophy. "In Hawaii, we have access to the freshest produce and ingredients, therefore it was very important to develop organic cocktails that are a reflection of our natural paradise," said Sidman. "We take pride in creating the ingredients in house."

For home gardeners who want to create their own cocktails, Sidman recommends starting with herbs such as mint or thyme. "It's a quick and simple way to add a nice aroma and flavor to any cocktail," said Sidman, who then recommends combining those herbs with citrus, such as limes, lemons, oranges or calamansi, and then muddling together. "The citrus cuts the alcohol and helps balance the acidity."

Sidman offers more ideas -- and a new cocktail recipe -- every Friday on the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai Facebook page. Even better, this week's, the 100-Mile Cocktail, is made with local ingredients from four of the Hawaiian islands: Lanai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island (all within 100 miles). And below is the recipe for the Tree-tini. That's a lot of Aloha!

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New Studio Garden (Cocktails) at Montage Laguna Beach Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 31 July 2011 09:29

Studio garden at Montage Laguna BeachIt's hard to imagine a more beautiful spot for a garden than that enjoyed by the new chef's garden at the Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach (right). Perched next to the Craftsman-style bungalow that houses the restaurant, the garden features beds that are built 31 inches tall (according to Chef Craig Strong, that is the exact height needed to keep the pesky bunnies that roam the property away) and filled with herbs and vegetables -- and companion flowers such as marigolds. Against the wall of the garden area, berries and other fruit grow -- protected (again, from those pesky bunnies as well as insects) with a row of alyssum.

Studio Executive Chef Craig Strong, who we first wrote about here in 2009 and who has provided us since with great recipes for salsa verde with spring garlic and watermelon, feta and black-olive salad, is long a proponent of using local seasonal products and a home gardener himself. While he still buys most of his produce from local farmers -- where he gets inspired by some of their discoveries (one of the latest was a leek blossom, which he has been using with sauteed swordfish), the new chef's garden allows him to do two things: 1. Pick herbs such as lemon verbena minutes before using it in, say, the aroma that accompanies his seared Hudson Valley foie gras and 2. create a series of signature cocktails based on what's growing in the garden.

Using a base of Cachaca, the first Studio Garden Cocktail featured tarragon, cucumber, basil and key lime, along with a splash of St. Germaine and champagne. The current Studio Garden Cocktail again uses Cachaca as its base and adds fresh lime juice, lavender-infused syrup and blackberry. For those who would like to try it at home, here is the recipe (click "read more"). Enjoy!

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Italian Style + Southern California Produce = the Peach Bellini at Locanda de Lago Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 24 July 2011 00:49

Lago peach belliniIt’s always nice to find a gem you didn’t know about in your own back yard. In my case, the back yard is Santa Monica and the gem is Locanda de Lago, which has been on the Third Street Promenade for 20 years. I have to admit I’ve walked by it a million times but didn’t realize until a recent visit just how much care and energy the restaurant spends in not only creating a true Northern Italian (specifically, the Lake Region) experience but also in crafting that experience using the best in local produce. It doesn’t hurt that their location is steps from the legendary Santa Monica Farmers Market, which means many of the farmers are able to walk their produce right into the kitchen.

The summer menu, which changes weekly depending on the fare at the farmers market, includes Borage Tortellini, Verdure Carta Fata (vegetables steamed in parchment paper), Summer Filetto (with eggplant caviar, sauteed zucchini and summer truffles) and a burrata salad highlighted by market tomatoes and a basil sorbet. Even better, the burrata is made locally and traditionally by an Italian family. (You may utter a quiet guttural “mmmmmmm” now.)

Also on the current menu are cocktails named after celebrities with summer homes at Lake Como (the De Niro, the Madonna and the Clooney, which features blood oranges) and, particularly appropriate because of the preponderance of peaches available right now, a White Peach Bellini, made using the original recipe from Harry’s Bar in Venice. If you’d like to make it at home, the recipe is quite simple: just muddle a quarter of a ripe white peach and then fill the rest of the champagne glass with prosecco. Like Lago, it’s the perfect combination of seasonal produce and Italian style.

 
Basil Margarita from Cheyenne Mountain Resort Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 08:43
Cheyenne Mountain Resort basil margarita

Hello summer! And what better way to celebrate than with an ice-cold margarita. The Will Rogers Lounge at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs has created an award-winning summer margarita that uses basil (six types!) picked fresh from their on-site organic garden. Here is the recipe for the version that uses Thai basil. Feel free to experiment with other basil varieties you may be growing.

 

Ingredients

3 oz. Thai basil sweet & sour mix (recipe below)

1½ oz. Cuervo 1800 Silver tequila 

¾ oz. Bauchant orange liqueur

 

Shake all ingredients and strain over ice. Garnish with Thai basil leaves. 

 

To make Thai basil sweet & sour mix: combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup hot water in a blender and mix slowly. Add 20 Thai basil leaves and blend until completely chopped. Mix with 4 oz. fresh lemon juice and 4 oz. fresh lime juice. Chill overnight.

 
The Gin Gin Cocktail from the Pierre, New York Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 29 May 2011 08:57
Pierre gin gin

Created as one of its seasonal cocktails for Fashion's Night Out in 2009, the Gin Gin at the Pierre, New York's Two E Bar & Lounge proved so popular it made it on to the standard menu and is still one of their best sellers. Here is the recipe for the Gin Gin, which incorporates the great garden ingredients of ginger, cucumber, mint and lime. Enjoy!

 

Gin Gin

1 oz. Hendrick’s Gin

1 oz. Canton Ginger Liqueur

1/2 oz. Fresh Cucumber and Mint Puree

1/4 oz. Lime juice

Ginger ale to top

Garnish with a cucumber slice

 
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