Mix Your Own Locavore Cocktails
Local isn’t limited to plates. Break out the pitchers and your favorite barware. We’ve asked several friends of edible Memphis to share their favorite summer cocktail recipes (with and without alcohol) — using local ingredients, of course.
MORE LOCAL IN (AND ON) THE GLASS
• Infuse simple syrup or liquors with herbs or fruit
• freeze chopped herbs in ice cubes
• pulse herbs with salt in a food processor for salting rims of glasses
• pulse herbs such as basil or rosemary with sugar in a food processor to use for sweetening tea or lemonade
Ask Chef Ryan Trimm for a summer cocktail and he doesn’t even have to think before touting his watermelon mojito.
- 7–9 large mint leaves
- Splash of simple syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- Splash of Rose’s lime juice
- Splash of Finest Call Sweet-n-Sour
- Crushed ice
- 1 ounce watermelon juice*
- Fresh mint for garnish
Muddle mint leaves with splash of simple syrup in a mixing glass. In hi-ball glass, combine rest of liquid ingredients (white rum, Rose’s lime, Finest Call Sweet-n-Sour, watermelon juice) over crushed ice. Pour contents into mixing glass with the mint, shake to combine and pour back into hi-ball glass. Garnish with fresh mint.
*to make watermelon juice, puree chunks of seeded watermelon in a blender and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Recipe courtesy of Ryann Trimm, Sweet Grass
937 South Cooper St. • 901-278-0278
When it’s hot, sweet drinks just won’t quench your thirst like this summery water will.
- 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1–2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 4–8 sprigs fresh mint
Place cucumber, lemon and mint in a 2-liter pitcher. Fill with water. Refrigerate. Serve over ice.
Recipe inspired by Chef Miles McMath, Kay Kafe
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital
THE SUNSET MARGARITA
Is there any better place to have a cocktail than atop one of the fantastic rooftops overlooking the Mississippi River? This drink is a featured special at the Sunset Atop the Madison rooftop parties throughout the summer.
- 3 ounces tequila
- 1/2 ounce triple sec
- 1/2 ounce sweet & sour
- 1/2 ounce lime juice
- 3/4 ounce seasonal berries, pureed and strained — blueberries, blackberries, strawberries (oh, but peaches are a nice addition too)
Chill all ingredients and combine. Shake vigorously, pour into a martini glass and garnish with fresh berries.
Recipe courtesy of Grill 83
83 Madison Avenue
This is a local take on the classic Bebbo Cocktail from the 1920s, which fits in perfectly with the Majestic Grille (where they show old movies on the big screen all day long).
- 1 1/2 ounces gin (preferably Gin-Head Style Gin from Nashville’s Corsair Distillery)
- 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce Peace Bee Honey Syrup*
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Stir all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a Honey Orange Cocktail Cherry**
Honey is sticky and dang hard to mix into cold drinks. This syrup is great for cocktails or as a substitute for sugar in your sweet tea. Pour 3 parts honey to one part hot water into a glass container and stir until combined. The syrup will keep its flavor in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
**Honey Orange Cocktail Cherries
3/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup Peace Bee Farm honey
1 pint sour cherries, stemmed and pitted
Simmer Cointreau and honey over medium heat, in a small saucepan for five minutes. Add the cherries and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for an additional five minutes then remove from heat and let cool. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for two days before use.
Recipe courtesy of Deni Reilly
The Majestic Grille • 145 South Main Street • 901-522-8555
LONG TALL COOLER
Not every cocktail needs to have liquor in it. This is sweet and refreshing and can be multiplied to make by the pitcher.
- 1 sprig mint
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce thyme infused simple syrup*
- 2 ounces of ginger ale
- 1 sprig thyme
Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a 12 ounce glass. Add the lemon juice, simple syrup, and ginger ale. Stir gently. Fill glass to 2⁄3 full with ice and top with gingerale. Garnish with sprig of thyme.
*Thyme infused simple syrup
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add 3–4 thyme sprigs and 1 cup of granulated sugar (or 3/4 cup honey). Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool. Remove thyme sprigs and store, covered, in refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy of Chris Ferri
This is Rusty’s take on a dirty martini. Napa Cafe uses three local ingredients (or ingredients from the South). The vodka, in keeping with the name of the restaurant, is made on Spring Mountain in Napa Valley by Domaine Charbay. The garnish — like so many Southern foods — is fried.
- 2 1/2 ounces Domaine Charbay vodka
- 1/2 ounce olive juice
- 1 local rosemary sprig, bruised
- Goat cheese stuffed olive*
Combine vodka, olive juice, and rosemary with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass and garnish with fried olive.
*Garnish — 1 green olive stuffed with Bonnie Blue goat cheese, coated in Delta Grind masa and fried in peanut oil.
Recipe courtesy of Rusty Prudhon, Napa Cafe
5101 Sanderlin Avenue | 901-683-0441
FLO’S BLUEBERRY ICE PICK
Felicia Suzanne (a.k.a. “Flo”) can frequently be found behind the bar of her downtown restaurant. Felicia has recently replaced all processed sugar at the bar — a simple syrup made with honey, agave nectar and cane syrup are used instead.
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 4 sprigs of fresh mint, slightly torn
- 1 ounce local honey
- 2 ounces Ketel One vodka
- 6 ounces of strong iced tea
In a pint glass, combine the blueberries, mint and honey. Muddle the ingredients four times. Fill the glass with ice. Add the vodka and iced tea. Stir to completely combine and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Felicia Willett, Felicia Suzanne’s
80 Monroe Avenue | 901-523-0877
BLACKBERRY LEMONADE COCKTAIL
This concoction is ideal for summer nights. Try adding lemon-flavored vodka for an extra kick! Watch the new “P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table” and “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home” — now in its 10th season — on PBS. Check local listings for details.
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 teaspoons
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 1 cup Mountain Valley Sparkling Water, chilled
In a saucepan, heat 3/4 cup sugar and water over medium heat until sugar completely dissolves, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine blackberries and 2 teaspoons of sugar in a food processor. Pulse until pureed, then strain mixture and set aside.
Let sugar mixture cool, then transfer to a pitcher. Stir in lemon juice and blackberry puree. Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled. Stir in sparkling water. Serve over ice with 1 to 1 1/2 ounces of vodka.
Recipe courtesy of P. Allen Smith
The Latimore is a well loved fruity, intoxicating concoction long enjoyed by the employees and close friends of Curb Side Casseroles, who love turning people on to great tastes. Andy Feinstone (of Ghost River Beer, a soon to be local bottled favorite!) is a friend of the Curb Side ladies.
- 12 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
- 6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
- 12 oz. Ghost River Beer (we like it with Ghost River Golden Ale)
- 12 oz. Sprite
- 12 oz. vodka
Combine concentrates, beer, Sprite and vodka in your favorite pitcher. Add ice and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Liz Rizer
Curb Side Casseroles • 5130 Wheelis Drive • 901-761-0287
“Drink is the feast of reason and the flow of soul.”