BOTANICAL COCKTAILS INSPIRED BY THE GIFTS OF NATURE
Botanical tinctures, infusions and syrups have a long history of being restorative. Spring tonics, while medicinal in historic recipe books, are also a terrific way to bring the green flavors of the garden into a drink. It’s easy to get inspired by this enlivening time of year with everything lush and blooming.
A clipping of fresh fronds here, a heady hint of floral petals there— bartenders incorporate these simple, beautiful ingredients into libations brimming with the essence and aroma of a garden. Sometimes they’re almost too pretty to drink—almost.
Lime, snap pea, chartreuse—these aren’t just shades of green; they are ingredients in the verdant cocktail “Young Lady You’re Scaring Me” at The Iberian Pig. Bartender Stephen Saylor took the idea from the classic Last Word. His version is a mix of botanical gin, green chartreuse, fresh lime juice and housemade simple syrup infused with fresh peas. The use of pea simple syrup was chef-inspired, he says. He twists pea tendrils around the glass for edible garnish. “As for the name, it was inspired by the title of a song ‘Young Lady You’re Scaring Me’ by Ron Gallo,” Saylor says. Add to the enchantment of the forest with an order of paper thin slivers of jamón Ibêrico de Bellota from pigs fattened on foraged acorns.
Elderflower has grassy and lemony aromas reminiscent of the early days of summer. It comes from the elder tree, whose genus “sambuca” translates from Latin to “gift of the gods.” Its healing properties were known by ancient Greeks. At elegant Greek mainstay Kyma, elderflower liqueur and gin form the flavor foundation of the Morpheus cocktail. Fall under its hypnotic spell with the addition of lavender petals, lemon and an edible hibiscus flower bobbing in the sleek glass.
In the 1920s, authors Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, gathered with other literary giants, artists and intellectuals at the outdoor cafe Le Select in Paris. The Select in Sandy Springs is named in honor of the famous brasserie, serving French-influenced cuisine in an art deco atmosphere. The staff brings the outside to your table with their whimsical Bird of Paradise cocktail. Tapping into the beauty of the garden, chamomile-infused gin mingles with passion fruit, elderflower and fresh lime juice in the cutest bird-shaped glass. Mint and rosemary act as feather like garnish. It’s as playful and fun as it is tropical and fresh.
No matter what you order at The Garden Room, you’ll feel immersed in a full garden experience with cocktails inside this enchanting solarium. It’s an opulent, fantastical space richly layered with trees, ivy, flowers and tinkly chandeliers under a curved glass roof. Start off with a frothy pink Paradis Bramble, with cognac, Côtes du Rhône wine, blackberries, lemon and an egg white. Flower petals are an extra outdoor touch. You’ll swear butterflies are flitting about.
Iberian Pig Buckhead
3150 Roswell Road
3085 Piedmont Road N.E.
The Garden Room
88 W. Paces Ferry Road N.W.
6405 Blue Stone Road
Sandy Springs 30328
Drinks columnist at Simply Buckhead. Food, spirits, and culture writer.