Drink Your Veggies: Farm-Fresh Cocktails


A. ArmstrongEvelisciousness

4 out of 5 doctors agree*: One should eat at least nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Most everyone else agrees*: That seems ambitious.

Let us toast to the health of our local publicans, the men and women who scour the weekly farmers markets to source fresh fruits and vegetables, supplementing our favorite cocktails with stuff that's actually good for us. After the jump, a round-up of where to score the freshest vegetable and fruit cocktails. They're like a healthy smoothie, just made with booze.

Michael's Mix

A ArmstrongMichael's Mix

Eveleigh: Dave Kupchinsky (a.k.a. Old Man Winter) might be managing the bar at this Sunset Blvd oasis, but for his birthday, Mareld Kevin Tidwell took over the Sunday farmers market cocktail program and Negroni'd on down with four different variations on the classic drink; two or three of them will wind up on the menu this fall. All named after song titles, Love & Happiness is a Genever Negroni on the rocks with a side of Dolin dry vermouth-soaked olives, fresh lemon zest and cracked pepper. Crown of Thorns is a blend of rosemary-infused bianco vermouth, genever and Campari with a sprig of rosemary to finish. Black (which is actually more magenta in color) is made with fresh date syrup, genever, Averna, Campari and lemon zest with an almond-dusted rim. Finally, Tell Me in the Morning is a blend of dry vermouth, Campari, genever and house-made red onion syrup, finished with lemon zest in an absinthe-rinsed glass. If you order both Love & Happiness and Tell Me in the Morning, it's almost the same as eating a salad. Almost. 8752 W Sunset Blvd West Hollywood, 90069; (424) 239-1630

Rum Dandy at Hungry Cat

A ArmstrongRum Dandy at Hungry Cat

The Hungry Cat: The giant tubs of fresh fruit on the bar of Hollywood's Hungry Cat recall a juice bar. You can come here after working out to replenish all those important electrolytes the Gatorade ads say you lose when you sweat. Ask Danielle Motor to mix you up a Rum Dandy. It contains opal basil in addition to peaches, lemon and Flor de CaƱa white rum. Take that, Vitamin Water. 1535 Vine St Los Angeles 90028; (323) 462-2155

The Bar at The Library Bar at The Roosevelt

A ArmstrongThe Bar at The Library Bar at The Roosevelt

Library Bar at The Roosevelt: When we caught up to Library Bar's Matt Biancaniello, he said that except for the occasional out-of-town trip, until last week he hadn't missed a day at the farmers market in three years. He scours locations all over SoCal, collecting the healthiest produce to mix into his cocktails. Some of those ingredients, like lime and Asian pear, are blended with agave syrup and sake. The citrus flavor is underscored by the pear's foresty sweetness. In his Easter Island cocktail, Biancaniello blends tarragon, ginger, gin and Veuve Clicquot Champagne. The tarragon hogs the spotlight, with bright bursts of ginger dancing in the chorus line. 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90028 (323) 466-7000

Michael's Desert Fire Cocktail

A ArmstrongMichael's Desert Fire Cocktail

Michael's: This Santa Monica classic has been around for 32 years, more than enough time for the restaurant to establish its own rooftop herb garden, taking local to another level, literally. Most of the other produce is sourced from the Santa Monica farmers markets. In his Desert Fire cocktail, Jason Robey mixes pomegranate, grapefruit and lime with the restaurant's house-made cilantro simple syrup, Illegal brand Mezcal Reposado and chipotle Tabasco. The smoky mezcal is the backbone to a subtle fruitiness with a jalapeno-flavored flourish on the finish. 1147 3rd St Santa Monica, 90403; (310) 451-0843

Beet-ellini at The Onyx Lounge

Onyx LoungeBeet-ellini at The Onyx Lounge

Onyx Lounge: Mixologist Douglas Williams is the brains behind the Beet-ellini. He blends a housemade beet reduction with dry sparkling wine. A garnish of warm goat cheese foam and beet powder put the finishing touches on this deep, dark, iron-packed potable. The Beet-ellini will get your juices flowing with elements of cold, sweet, sour and warm, and it gives you a palatable excuse to put beets into your diet. 118 West Fifth Street, Los Angeles 90013; (213) 489-8181

Zahra Bates Mixing it Up at Providence

A ArmstrongZahra Bates Mixing it Up at Providence

Providence: When Zahra Bates can't get to the farmers market, she doesn't stress about it. Chef Michael Cimarusti has her covered. The kitchen allows her to work with whatever they bring in. Right now, that means she's pestle-deep in figs. On the night we visited, she torched a few and muddled them in a pint glass. She added apple juice, vanilla and Old Overholt Rye, strained into a martini glass. The result is smooth and earthy with a citrus-vanilla sweetness. The internet says figs are an excellent source of poly-phenolic flavonoid anti-oxidants, which practically makes this drink a vitamin supplement. 5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles 90038; (323) 460-4170

Sotto Veggie

A ArmstrongSotto Veggie

Sotto: Kate Grutman, Sotto's bar manager, says "Every Sunday I do farmers market cocktails, where I either use what they have [in the kitchen] or I go to the open market." Inspired by the restaurant's grilled winter squash in agridolce, she decided to roast kabocha squash for a drink she calls the Royal Kabocha (roasted kabocha puree, Allspice Dram, 5 year old Jamaican rum and a whole egg with a touch of cream, honey, lemon, sugar and a sprinkling of shaved nutmeg on top). It's like pumpkin pie's thinner, lighter, leaner, alcoholic cousin. Not green enough for you? Her Aww Snap uses a base of house-made sugar snap pea, celery, mint and parsley syrup with fresh apple and lemon juice, Cocchi Americano, gin and tonic water. The result is almost exactly like a Dr. Brown's Celery Soda but healthier. 9575 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, 90035; (310) 277-0210

My Kabocha

A ArmstrongMy Kabocha

*totally made up statistic