We had so much fun last month at Emily Han’s Wild Drinks cocktail workshop! Holoholo provided the fruits and vegetables for the workshop participants to create cocktails from, and of course we also brought some nibbles! (That’s our Holoholo Hodgepodge Salad and our Roasted Carrot and Quinoa Salad in the photo below.)
A public workshop was held at Morning Glass Café on May 14, and we also participated in a private event at the home of our wonderful friends the Leungs. We’re extremely grateful to Tamara Kong, a longtime CSA subscriber and Holoholo champion, for bringing Emily to Hawaii, arranging her workshops and getting us involved!
We ate, we drank, we learned how to craft cocktails using fresh fruit and veggie syrups, shrubs and squashes. (Those last two sound like something we’d grow on the farm, but they’re actually types of syrups. Emily’s book, Wild Drinks and Cocktails: Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switches, Tonics and Infusions to Mix At Home is all about how to make them.) The basic rule of thumb we learned was that in order to create a well-balanced cocktail, you need two parts spirit(s), one part sweet and one part sour. Look at all these yummy sweet and sour options we had to chose from:
Emily was kind enough to allow us to share her recipe for Citrus Squash, which was one of the delicious concoctions we experimented with at the workshop.
from Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han
I like to use a mix of orange, grapefruit, lemon, and mandarin orange, but you can use whatever you happen to have on hand. Flavoring this syrup with citrus peels gives it a more complex and concentrated flavor than you’d get from plain juice. (As with all recipes that include citrus peels, be sure to use unwaxed fruit that’s free from pesticides.) I like to share a carafe of this sunny citrus squash at brunch gatherings, so that guests can fix their own drinks: some folks use it to make a vibrant juice with cold water, while other prefer a mimosa made with bubbly Prosecco.
- 1¼ pounds citrus fruit
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the citrus rind into wide strips, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith Combine the citrus peels, water, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the juice from the citrus and strain to remove excess pulp and seeds. Measure juice; you should have about 1 cup. If you have significantly less than 1 cup, top it off with more juice or water. If you have significantly more than 1 cup, drink the surplus or save it for another use.
Add the 1 cup of juice to the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the peels or reserve them for another use. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Yield: About 2½ cups