Amy Zavatto, a longtime drinks writer based in NYC, recommends getting your hands dirty in Forager’s Cocktails. Almost pocket-sized, this guide should serve as a directive to explore your surroundings, looking for foods like concord grapes and nettle leaves to spike your drinks. City dwellers take note: Zavatto is living proof that successful foraging can even happen in the wilderness of NYC’s five boroughs. Try the Wilds of Manhattan, her take on the classical drink, made with preserved crab apples.
Author: Amy Zavatto
Publisher: Sterling Epicure
Shrubby cranberry bushes like to grow in moist spots, and places like Massachusetts and New Jersey have become famed for their cultivated versions of these fruits, which show up on supermarket shelves. They are delicious, but the wild kind, Vaccinium macrocarpon, are fun to seek when you’re out exploring on sunny fall weekends. The leaves look a little like a darker version of the rue leaves we were mixing up drinks with back in spring, and they start off in that season with an exotic-looking flower (that looks awfully nice in a vase, too). If you’re going cranberry hunting, wear pants that you don’t mind getting a bit mucky, and be sure to bring along extra sealable plastic bags. Just like the store-bought version, wild cranberries can be frozen and saved.
- 2 oz (60ml) bourbon
- ½ oz (15ml) Oloroso sherry
- ½ oz (15ml) cranberry-rosemary-orange syrup (see below)
- 1 sprig of rosemary, for garnish
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1 cup (235ml) water
- 2 cup wild cranberries, rinsed and chopped
- 2–3 wide orange peels
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- Fill a cocktail shaker half-full with ice cubes. Pour in the bourbon, sherry, and syrup. Shake for 25 to 30 seconds. Slowly strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, and garnish with a small sprig of rosemary.
For the syrup:
- In a saucepot, simmer the sugar and water, stirring, until the sugar starts to dissolve. Add the cranberries, orange peel, and rosemary and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the liquid, discard the solids, and store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.
NOTE: If you live outside of the select cranberry-growing regions, these delightful berries can also be foraged elsewhere—in specialty supermarkets around the world, often in the freezer section. Cranberries are delicate little things and not the heartiest of travelers.
Caitlin Griffith knew her future career would entail food and drink when, at the age of six, she munched an anchovy from her father’s Caesar salad thinking it as a small strip of bacon—and was more than pleasantly surprised. While enrolled in New York University’s Food Studies program, she learned the secrets of affinage in the caves of Murray’s Cheese.
This story appears in the print issue of February 2016.
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