These vegetable garden ingredients are trending as drink mixers

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Merchant & Trade’s 24 Carrot Magic cocktail. Photo by Poprock Photography.

For years fruits have had all the fun as drink mixers. But your happy hour just got healthier because the latest trend behind the bar is crafting cocktails featuring flavors picked from summer’s vegetable gardens. From carrot concoctions to boozy beets, these inventive drinks go far beyond brunch’s Bloody Mary

In the Beet of the Night

Myers Park’s ROCKSALT is serious about sustainability and local farms. So, it’s no surprise that a cocktail that has continued through multiple menu revamps is this fuchsia-colored mixture of gin, beets, honey vinegar, lavender, and St. Germain ($12). “I wanted to incorporate ingredients that support local farmers whenever possible,” says bar manager Damien Lavalle. “I may have gone a little overboard by trying to showcase as many of our partners as possible. Thankfully, it’s been well received.”

24 Carrot Magic

Snag a seat with a sunset view to sip on this bright orange cocktail from Uptown’s swanky rooftop bar Merchant and Trade. The drink ($14)—which is made with fresh lime juice, carrot juice, dill syrup, Lillet Blanc, Aperol, and Aviation gin—is surprisingly smooth…and addictive. “Not everyone is keen on drinking their veggies with booze,” says lead bartender Henry Schmulling. “So here is a cocktail with a ton of complexity, but with a refreshing drinkability to it that lets you take down one after another.”

Italian Old Fashioned

This cocktail from Uptown’s Essex restaurant is anything but old fashioned. The drink ($12), which has been a signature favorite on the menu since the restaurant’s opening, was inspired by the classic cocktail but also includes the unexpected additions of basil and bell pepper. “It’s a fun twist on the original Old Fashioned,” says bar manager Sheenah Richards of the potent rye whiskey drink served over ice. “The red bell pepper really complements all the flavors in the cocktail.”

This story first ran in the July 2018 issue of SouthPark Magazine.

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