From the Garden
A seed has been planted among local mixologists, and whats sprouting is deliciously fresh.
The locavore movement revived the respect that fresh ingredients get behind the bar, as well as on the stove. Modern bartenders are taking a cue from their kitchen colleagues, and becoming even more conscious of using nature’s bounty in their creations—from fresh herbs and vegetables to fruits and mint.
Some local cocktail go-tos are taking the trend a step further and planting their own gardens onsite to spice up what the kitchen and bar can create. Sanctuaria in the Grove has a garden surrounding its outdoor patio, which produces herbs like mint, lemon verbena and sage, among others, for the custom creations of bar manager Matt Seiter and crew. And, Blood and Sand Downtown has installed a “grow wall” that’s inside the restaurant itself to supply fresh herbs. Plans are also in the works for an outdoor garden for larger crops as well, according to co-owner TJ Vytlacil.
Salt in the Central West End has a bevy of herbs and veggies sprouting in planters within the green space around the stately property, thanks, in large part, to the help of local farmer Greg Pusczek. The yield includes multiple types of mints and three varieties of basil, among other herbs, which frequently make their way onto bar manager Matt Obermark’s drink menu in creations like the Sheboygan Sunrise. This garden libation, which he created with Jason Reed, features Nolet’s gin, St. Germain, lime juice, honey syrup and Bitter Truth creole bitters, swizzled with mint and cucumber and topped with ginger beer. The result is a verdant and spicy drink that tastes like spring in a glass. Sure, some of these herbs and veggies are available at the local supermarket, but by the time they pass through all of the hands necessary to make it to market, they can be a little worse for wear. Tending a garden takes a bit of work, but Selsor says having one just a few steps from the bar ensures his drinks are as vital and delicious as possible. Let’s just say the proof is in the tasting.
Sheboygan Sunrise by Salt