Drink your veggies:Cocktails have raided the produce market for rich, colorful drinks

CDP's Cucumber Martini at the Veranda Restaurant

CDP's Cucumber Martini at the Veranda Restaurant

Your mother always nagged that you had to eat your vegetables. Now that you are over 21 you also have the choice of drinking them. Mixologists are using colorful vegetables to make alcoholic drinks healthier and more interesting. You knew vodka was made from potatoes and Bloody Mary mix was made with tomatoes, that onions garnished a Gibson and olives a martini, but now you can also enjoy cucumbers, jalapeños, tomatillos and celery mixed in your drink. There are even recipes made with beets and bell peppers. Bartenders are also taking a page out of chef's books by adding fresh herbs to make tastier drinks.

The vegetable drinks are refreshing on a hot day and several will help keep you as cool as a cucumber. Try the recipes from the following local restaurants, and enjoy your veggies:

Cucumber Basil Gimlet from Brio Tuscan Grille

Cucumber Basil Gimlet from Brio Tuscan Grille

CUCUMBER BASIL LIME GIMLET

Recipe from Brio Tuscan Grill, 5505 U.S. 41 N., Naples, 239-593-5319

Ingredients

2 tablespoons diced cucumber

2 basil leaves

1 ounce simple syrup

4 ounces Belvedere Vodka or Hendrick's Gin

2 ounces lemon juice

2 ounces lime juice

1 dash of Angostura bitters

Directions

1. In a large glass muddle the diced cucumber and basil leaves.

2. Add ice and the simple syrup, vodka or gin, lemon juice, lime juice and bitters.

3. Vigorously shake and strain into a highball glass with ice.

4. Garnish with a cucumber round slice on a skewer

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Cucumber martini at Cloyde's Steak & Lobster House

Photo by Vanessa Rogers Photography

Cucumber martini at Cloyde's Steak & Lobster House

CUCUMBER MARTINI

Recipe from Cloyde's Steak & Lobster House, 4050 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples, 239-261-0622

Ingredients

2 ounces Effen vodka

Splash dry white vermouth, shaken with finely

1 ounce chopped bits of cucumber

Ice

Cucumber wheel, sliced paper thin

Directions

1. In a shaker add vodka, vermouth and chopped cucumber and shake.

2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

3. Place the paper thin garnish of fresh cucumber floating in the glass and serve.Tommy Bahama, 1220 Third St. S., Naples, 239-213-1683

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PINEAPLE JALAPENO MOJITO

Recipe from Cloyde's Steak & Lobster House, 4050 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., Naples, 239-261-0622

Ingredients

2 ounces Cruzan pineapple rum

3 pineapple cubes, plus two for the glass and a slice for garnish1 lime slice

Pineapple Jalapeno Mojito at Tommy Bahama

Pineapple Jalapeno Mojito at Tommy Bahama

5 mint leaves plus one for the garnish

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 jalapeño slice

½ ounce Depaz cane syrup

1 ounce seltzer

Directions

1. Muddle the jalapeño, two mint leaves and pineapple in a large glass.

2. Add rum, juice and syrup and mix.

3. Fill a Collins glass with ice with three mint leaves and the two pineapple cubes and the lime slice.

4. Strain the liquids and pour into the Collins glass.

5. Top with the seltzer.

6. Float jalapeño slice for garnish.

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BACON SMOKED GRILLED BLOODY MARY

Recipe from Ritz-Carlton, Naples, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 239-598-3300. (Bacon Smoked Grilled Bloody Mary is served in The Grill)

Ingredients

1.5 ounces bacon-infused vodka

4 ounces grilled Bloody Mary mix (recipe is below)

Bacon Smoked Grilled Bloody Mary at Ritz-Carlton, Naples, The Grill

Bacon Smoked Grilled Bloody Mary at Ritz-Carlton, Naples, The Grill

Pork belly bacon cube, cherry tomato and frisee lettuce for garnish

Directions

1.Pour liquid in a shaker and shake vigorously.

2. Fill a tall glass with ice and pour in liquid.

3. Garnish with the pork belly cube, cherry tomato and frisee lettuce on a toothpick.

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BACON SMOKED BLOODY MARY MIX (Makes one gallon)

Recipe from Ritz-Carlton, Naples, 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 239-598-3300.

Ingredients

15 5 x 6 tomatoes (a large size)

4 heads of celery

4 tomatillos

2 jalapeños, seed removed

1 quart V-8 juice

6 ounces lemon juice

4 tablespoons celery salt

4 tablespoons horseradish

4 tablespoons onion powder

2 tablespoons garlic powder

4 tablespoons coarse black pepper

Directions

1. Smoke the tomatoes, celery, tomatillos and jalapeños for one hour with Applewood at 200 degrees.

2. Purée and strain into a gallon container.

3. Add V-8 juice, lemon juice, celery salt, horseradish, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and mix thoroughly by hand.

4. Serve with vodka or store for a maximum of three days.

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CDP's (Craig D. Peden) CUCUMBER MARTINI

Recipe from Veranda Restaurant, 2122 Second St., Fort Myers, 239-332-2065

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Square One Cucumber Vodka

2 ounces fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

½ ounce St. Germain Elderflower

½ ounce fresh lime sour

Slice of English cucumber for garnish

Preparation

1. Pour all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.

2. Shake and strain into a martini glass.

3. Garnish with a slice of English cucumber.Charlie Chiang's, 12200 U.S. 41 N., Naples, 239-593-6688

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Sake-Tini at Charlie Chiang's Restaurant

Sake-Tini at Charlie Chiang's Restaurant

SAKE-TINI

Recipe from Veranda Restaurant, 2122 Second St., Fort Myers, 239-332-2065

Ingredients

2 ounces TY Ku Sake

1 ounce TY Ku Soju

Sliced cucumber for garnish

Directions

1. Pour the sake and soju into a glass with ice and give a hard shake.

2. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with the cucumber wheel.

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