Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Okie Dokie Artichokie

Vegetables you can drink.  That's the focus of this month's Mixology Monday, hosted by Rowen at the Fogged In Lounge.  I think for most of us this instantly brings about visions of suppressing head splitting hangovers from an overly indulgent night of binge drinking by imbibing spicy Bloody Marys the next day.  Well, for most anyway as I loathe them.  Nope.  Vegetables rarely touch my glass.  Just thinking about blending up tomatoes spiced with horseradish and Worcestershire almost made me skip this month...And I know, technically tomatoes are a fruit, but with all the garnishments of pickled asparagus, celery, green beans and what have you, it's really more of a salad with a straw.  But after reading what Rowen had to say, I started pondering about I might use veggies more than I realized, and he delivers in a playful and inspiring way.

Want to get more vegetables but you’re always eating on the run? Maybe you hate vegetables but feel you should get more of them? Well then, how about a vegetable cocktail? No, not that nice little glass of red stuff Grandma put at each place setting—we’re talking something with a kick in it. You can definitely start with the little glass of red stuff and expand it to a Red Snapper-style drink like a Bloody Mary. Or how about a cucumber-scented cooler like a Pimm’s Cup, or maybe a cocktail featuring a vegetable-based ingredient like Cardamaro or celery bitters? Maybe you’ve been wondering if you can get more mileage out of that juice extractor before consigning it to the garage sale. However you get them in that glass, be prepared for the most fun with vegetables ever. Here‘s what to do.

Well, obviously anything Bloody Mary related will NOT be getting a makeover (well, perhaps at least this time), but it did occur to me that I use a vegetable based liqueur quite often, specifically an excellent amaro derived from the artichoke no less.  Of course, I am speaking of the wonderfully bitter and herbaceous Cynar. 

First of all, you have to realize that while this amari is made with artichokes, it doesn't taste like artichokes.  Perhaps, this is a good thing.  This stuff has been around since the early 50's throughout Europe and has been featured more commonly these days in American craft bars for the last few years.  Talented mixologists have created some great cocktails such as the Cynar Sour, Eeyore's Requiem, and one of my personal favorites, Robert Hess's Trident. 

I usually have amari play more background notes to my cocktails, but for you Rowen, this amaro will be the star of the show.  There are many flavors that play so well with Cynar, but for me, fig, orange and a great rye would suffice.  Insert quirky and perhaps a bit passé play on words for a name and you got yourself a vegetable cocktail that won't find its way being passed under the table to Fido.

Choke On This Drink
1 1/4 oz Cynar
3/4 oz Rye
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Fig Infused Cognac
tsp Orgeat
dash Boker's Bitters
dash Bittermans Orange Cream Citrate Bitters
Lemon Twist Expressed and Discarded for Garnish

Stir ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Express the garnish and discard.

Color:  Medium brown
Flavor:  Pronounced bitterness with sweet, herbaceous tones and hints of fig, orange and lemon
Texture:  Medium body with a silky finish

Thanks for hosting this month Rowen and be sure to check how everyone else is getting their veggies this month.  Cheers!


  1. am big on bitter cocktails, looks like a nice blend here...will give it a shot after i secure the citrate bitters

    1. Thanks Zach, I love bitter drinks as well so this was right up my alley. You could also use fig bitters and regular cognac, VSOP, or just a tsp of fresh muddled fig and double strain. That way you don't have to infuse if you have no other use for it. Cheers!

  2. This is cool never think of it or taste it seems better than others will have to try it.
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