These days the farm-to-table movement has intersected with the craft cocktail revival, and Southern mixologists are adding fresh, locally-grown vegetables to their repertoire.
Just ask Josh Streetman, the head bartender at Motor Supply Company in Columbia, South Carolina, who has been known to incorporate such things as roasted pumpkin or beet juice and fennel into his creations. He’s an avid gardener, too, and lately some of the produce from his own home patch has found its way into a few Motor Supply cocktails.
In their red-ripened state, tomatoes are the foundation of Bloody Marys, but Streeter couldn’t wait long enough for the romas in his garden to ripen. Instead, he concocted a pickled green tomato spin on the classic Gin and Tonic. “I have a really good recipe for a sweeter garam masala scented pickling spice,” Streetman says, “and I thought it would be a good accompaniment to a well crafted G&T.”
He starts with a basic cocktail recipe using Hendrick’s Gin, which has floral notes from cucumber and rose petals, and small-batch tonic from Charleston’s Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Then, he adds a shot of the liquid from his homemade pickled green tomatoes. “The pickling spice is refreshing and gives it a good light color,” Streetman says. Garnish with a couple of slices of tangy pickled tomato, and you have a cool, complex, and refreshing beverage that’s perfect for a hot Southern evening.