Into the Wild: Foraging for Cocktails
These bartenders are giving new meaning to “all natural” with the use of foraged drink ingredients
Jun. 1, 2016
You’ve likely noticed restaurant menus these days are peppered with backyard ingredients ranging from wild mushrooms to handpicked greens. But foraging is no longer only about what ends up on your plate: These days, even mixologists are incorporating everything from herbs to berries to barks for farm-to-table cocktails.
In New Orleans, Alan Walter uses a bevy of freshly foraged ingredients in his cocktails. In a feature in Southern Living, he says, “Depending on the time of year, that means picking clover along the 17th Street canal in Lakeview and Spanish moss [an experimental ingredient he uses to make tea] from live oaks and cypress trees in City Park.” He also steeps pine needles for cocktails like the Marguerite, which has tequila, thyme liqueur, lemongrass, sassafras, bay leaf and egg whites to balance out the rich pine flavor.
During our Secret Dining Society event in Denver, mixologist Chad Michael George noted that this trend is a natural extension of what chefs have been doing more of in recent years. At his bar, he’s sourced items including alpine herbs and local honey.
And in January, a Foraged Cocktails week inspired by Amy Zavatto and her book, Forager’s Cocktails, was held in New York. Foraging enthusiasts were able to attend panels, sip cocktails and learn all about this truly wild trend.