By MICHELLE STOHLGREN | Moonshine Ink
Are you searching for the perfect cocktail or mocktail to pair with a sunny Tahoe day? The best drinks are made with the freshest produce, which is why locally-grown fruits, veggies and herbs are must-haves this summer. Visit the Truckee and Tahoe City farmers markets from May through October for a bounty of exciting beverage ingredients.
Skip store-bought mixers and make your own blends for better tasting, healthier beverages. Did you know many packaged mixers are filled with artificial ingredients that can lead to more severe hangovers? Read the label next time before you buy a packaged mix, or pre-made margarita — you might be shocked to see high fructose corn syrup, yellow number 5, and vegetable oil listed there. Instead, use fresh produce from farmers markets and enjoy healthier beverages. Your hangover-free head will thank you the next morning.
A common cocktail mixer, sweet and sour is the cornerstone to many popular summer drinks such as the daiquiri, whiskey sour, lemon drop, and margarita. With fresh citrus and honey from our farmers markets you can create your own, no-additives sweet and sour.
Once your sour mix is ready, add 2 ounces of your preferred spirit to 1.5 ounces of sour mix. Shake with ice, strain into a coupe glass and you have a balanced, ready-to-drink cocktail.
In addition to sour mixes, many other fantastic ingredients can be found at the market. Add fresh chopped berries to honey simple syrup for a delightful kick. Or pick up fresh mint and make mojitos with a modified sour mix (substitute ¾ cup lime for the 1 cup lemon). The best part about fresh produce is the seemingly endless possibilities for making exciting summer drinks!
If you prefer to skip the spirits, simply add 1 cup of water to your sour mix for fresh lemonade. And don’t forget to throw in muddled berries or rosemary! Looking for a low-sugar, family friendly summer mocktail? Try a homemade Shirley Temple with fresh cherries.
Remember, these are merely a few fun suggestions. Experiment with your favorite produce this summer and create beverages with the tastes of Tahoe. Happy mixing — and cheers!
~ Michelle Stohlgren is owner of Garden to Glass Mixology. She is also lead forager and alchemist for Truckee’s Old Trestle Distillery.
TO GET STARTED
Sweet and Sour Mix
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup honey simple syrup
Mix fresh juice and simple syrup in a large jar or container.
Store in refrigerator in a tight sealing jar for up to three days.
Cherry Honey Simple Syrup*
½ cup blended cherries (remove pits)
1 cup local honey
1 cup water
*use the same preparation as honey simple syrup but add blended cherries to mixture.
Honey Simple Syrup
1 ¼ cup honey
1 cup water
In a small saucepan, combine the honey and water over low heat.
Use a whisk to slowly stir the honey until it has dissolved into the water. This usually takes 5 to 10 minutes.
Let cool and store in a tight-sealing jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Farmers Market Shirley Temple
1½ oz cherry honey simple syrup
¼ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz fresh lemon juice
Mix cherry honey simple syrup with lime and lemon (use a cocktail shaker or blender). Pour into a glass filled with ice. Top with soda water and stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with a fresh cherry.
For you cocktail aficionados, try cherry honey simple syrup in this summer inspired old-fashioned:
½ oz cherry honey simple syrup
3 dashes aromatic bitters
2 oz bourbon
Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass. Add ice (large cocktail cube preferred) and stir with a bar spoon. Garnish with an orange peel.