Gartending: Cocktails from the Garden

by Melody Kettle

Gartending 1

Among good chefs, seasonal cooking is expected. But what about seasonal mixology? Chefs are taking their produce to the bar and shaking up garden fresh cocktails fit for sipping on a sweltry summer night!

Here are two of the most creative "gartending" (bartending + garden = gartending) recipes I've come across.  So, gather up some fruit and veg, and get mixing!

The first cocktail recipe comes from the Wizard himself, Zod Arifai, chef/owner of Blu and Next Door in Montclair.  The second cocktail comes from Francesco Palmieri of The Orange Squirrel.  It's a riff on the Bloody Mary, which he has appropriately named The Bloody Blossom.

Summer Gazpacho 

Serving: 2

1 tomato (large)

1-1/2 cup cucumber (rough chop)

6 leaves fresh basil

Juice of two limes Juice

2 oz Simple Syrup

3 oz Grand Marnier

4 oz Tequila


For mixing at home, combine all ingredients in a blender or food  processor until smooth. Pour over ice, into glass.  Serve.

Alternative preparation:

Puree tomato and cucumber in a food processor or blender, than strain.   Muddle basil and lime juice in  a shaker glass.  Combine strained tomato and cucumber puree, with basil  and lime juice, simple syrup, Grand Marnier, and Tequila.  Shake well  with ice. Pour into glass.

The Bloody Blossom

Serving: 1

Note: The smoky worcestershire is replaced with a smoked tomato puree, and the celery salt is replaced with fennel tops.

For Blossom & Ginger Puree 

4 Zucchini blossom petals only

Dash of grated ginger


1 oz. smoked tomato puree

2 oz. blossom and ginger puree

1/4 oz.  lime juice

1 1/2 oz. dry fly wheat vodka

2 sprigs of fennel tops

3 drops citrus bitters

Pinch or coarse black pepper

Couple grates of lime zest

Pinch of kosher salt


Prepare smoked tomatoes.  Click here for instructions.

In a blender or food processor, puree zucchini blossom leaves with ginger.  Pour smoked tomato puree in the bottom of glass. Fill with ice.

In a separate shaker, mix remaining liquid ingredients and pour over ice.  Add the seasonings to taste.