Monday, July 30, 2007

Cocktails with S.O.L.E.

From the Farm to the Glass -
and the first flavored organic vodka is coming soon...!

Seasonal. Organic. Local. Ethical. “Sole” is the heart of sustainable cuisine. And, a sustainable diet doesn’t stop at the kitchen. Today it’s easier than ever to carry that philosophy behind the bar!

This topic came up at Tales of the Cocktail, and a panel of speakers passionate about blending “eco” and “gourmet” contributed their two cents.

Of course, the one nearest to my heart was Allison Evanow, CEO of Square One Organic Vodka. I first interviewed Allison last fall. One of the things that stands out most when remembering that phone call, was her stirring the persimmon puree bubbling on her stove. How often does a CEO of a liquor company create “from scratch” cocktail recipes in her own kitchen?

Allison considers herself a foodie and ‘environment local advocate.’ She lives in the Bay Area and shops at the farmers market, incorporating fresh, seasonal ingredients into her cooking and home bartending. Her product reflects her commitment to an organic lifestyle.

While some vodka boast about being distilled 4, 5 or 6 times, Square One Organic Vodka is made from organic rye and distilled only once. As Allison points out, “Some people say, ‘You distill out all the impurities, so who cares?’” Evanow’s answer to that is: “Start at square one and do it right the first time.” It even has a USDA Organic seal on the bottle.

And, Square One fans will be excited to know that the first flavored organic vodka – Square One Organic Cucumber – will be out this fall!

So, it is little wonder that I included Square One Organic Vodka in my Sustainable Sips Cocktail Class in Los Angeles, last week. I took a cocktail Square One presented in the Farm to Glass seminar called the Creole Martini, and gave it my own twist to create this cocktail, which I demonstrated to the students in my class:

Farm Fresh Caprese Martini

2 ounces of Square One® Organic Vodka
2 ounces of tomato water
juice from 1/2 lemon
dash angostura bitters
Garnish: Caprese Skewer

Shake vodka, tomato water, lemon juice and bitters with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a Caprese Skewer.

Caprese Skewer: Marinate a piece of mozzarella (or mozzarella ball) in olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar for a few hours. Before serving, slide mozzarella, an organic cherry tomato and organic basil leaf onto skewer and lay across glass.

Tomato Water: Freeze large round organic tomatoes overnight. In the morning, set them out to thaw in a glass dish. Peel the skins and over a separate dish, squeeze the tomatoes with your (clean) hands. Collect that liquid, and set tomato “meat” aside to use in cooking sauces, later.

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