When it comes to cocktails served at restaurants, bartenders often design a collection of libations that will complement the food on the menu.
However, there are several restaurants in Los Angeles (the home to all things eco) that are going above and beyond. By integrating food “scraps”, these cocktails illustrate how kitchen and bar can work together in creative and sustainable ways.
At home, think outside the box as well. Have some extra carrot juice on hand? Make it into a simple syrup or add it to a cocktail for a savory element. Left over roasted sweet potatoes? Infuse bourbon or rye with them. Likewise, trimmings from unused herbs can be used to infuse and modify your favorite spirits. And any number of ingredients, from apple peelings to not-so fresh chili peppers can be gently muddled with citrus at the bottom of the glass to bring out those essences in your drink.
Head to these hotspots around Los Angeles to try the fruits of their labor.
At Rustic Canyon, they’ve got the Beet Royale from bar manager Aaron Ranf. Utilizing discarded beets to make a geranium beet juice, the earthy flavors marry perfectly with the gin and provides the sweet element in this simple and elegant sour.
Beet Royale Cocktail
Courtesy Aaron Ranf
- 1 oz Tru Organic Gin
- 3/4 oz. Geranium-Infused Beet Juice
- 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- Champagne or Other Sparkling Wine, to Top
Preparation: Shake all ingredients over ice, and double strain into a champagne flute. Top off the rest of the flute with Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist.
*Geranium Beet Juice
Mix 1 quart of beet juice, heated slow and low in a sauce pan, with approximately 1 cup of sugar and 1-1 1/2 cups of dried rose geranium. Simmer for 10 minutes so the sugar is dissolved and the geranium can steep. Then let it cool and strain it off.
SNOW PEA INFUSION
At Wildcraft, they’ve got the Sweet Pea cocktail, which uses snow peas from the kitchen to infuse vodka with their slightly sweet, herbaceous essence. When shaken with mint simple syrup, lemon and egg whites, you’ve got a deliciously vegetal and frothy drink, offering up the natural pairing of peas and mint.
- 2 oz Snow Pea-Infused Vodka, Such as Reyka
- 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz. Mint Simple Syrup
- 1/2 oz. Egg Whites
Preparation: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain. Garnish with a pea tendril.
MUDDLED PINEAPPLE, CHILI, CILANTRO SCRAPS
Also at Wildcraft, the Riptide uses scraps straight from the kitchen for muddling and combining with blanco tequila. With the combination of pineapple, Fresno chilies and cilantro, you’re in for a spicy-sweet treat.
- 2 oz. Blanco Tequila, Such as Cazadores
- 3/4 oz. Agave Syrup
- 3 Small Cubes Pineapple
- 2 slices Fresno Chili
- 4 Cilantro Leaves
- 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
Preparation: Muddle pineapple, chili, cilantro, and lime juice. Add tequila and agave. Shake and double strain over new ice.