Posted by Patrick Maness
Legend has it, the inimitable Gin and Tonic was first devised as a way to treat malaria among members of the British Civil service stationed in India. One of the key ingredients in tonic water is quinine, which was a common treatment for malaria, and what better way to entice a good Englishman to take his medicine than by mixing it with a little gin?
Fast-forward a few centuries and today's hippest restaurants and bars are doing something similar — mixing up drinks that are good for your health. Malaria may not be a big cause for concern these days, but getting all your vitamins, minerals and vegetables is of utmost importance. That’s why carrots, kale, beets and more are all being squeezed into refreshing drinks that are equally delicious, nutritious and — perhaps best of all — spiked with alcohol.
Yes, the vegetable juice cocktail has moved beyond the Bloody Mary.
Some samples from the center of the veggie cocktail universe
Perhaps it's no surprise that many of the most exciting veggie cocktails originate in New York City. Take, for example, the drinks concocted in Chinatown’s Apothe´ke. Sourcing local and organic produce, the drinks (which they call “Prescriptions”) are categorized by properties: stress relief, health and beauty, stimulants, etc. One drink that really highlights the creativity displayed in these drinks is the Edamame and Shiso cocktail, which combines edamame puree, muddled cucumber, Shiso leaf, shaved ginger and vodka.
Not only are these highly original cocktail contraptions making a splash, but the vegetables are adding new life to old favorites. For example, take Saxon + Parole’s Celery Gimlet, which combines Dorothy Parker gin, green chartreuse, St. Germain, lime, fresh celery juice, citrus salt and verjus.
Cocktails are mostly thought of as fruity and sugary things, but as the public continues to focus on nutrition and diet — even when they’re out for the night — these sophisticated and savory drinks could very likely change that perception.
You don’t have to go to New York City to try one of these drinks, and by no means are they found only on high-price menus. As the trend grows, it’s a smart idea to experiment and diversify your own drink offerings. Even if you have only a few tomato-vegetable juice cocktails to offer right now, consider how some vegetable cocktails could open a whole garden of possibilities — and a wide range of new customers to attract.
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