Haasarud, whose cocktails have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Wine Enthusiast, and Cosmopolitan, views drinks as essential as eats. She conceives her specialty drink recipes much as an Alice Waters or a Wolfgang Puck would create a specialty dish, choosing the freshest, highest quality ingredients. It's no surprise that Haasarud's beverage consulting firm business is called Liquid Architecture, or that the cocktail expert is the author of six books focused on drinks, including her latest 101 Mojitos (Wiley, 2011).
What exactly does "farm to table" mean when it comes to drinks? "It's about incorporating local, seasonal ingredients into cocktails," Haasarud says. "It means taking trips to your local farmers market and building drinks around those ingredients – using them as the base."
If you're wondering how to build drinks around fresh farmers' market picks, the sky is the limit. We asked Haasarud what she looks for when perusing the produce stands.
"When they are in season, I love using ripe peaches and nectarines, mouthwateringly delicious melons, and concord grapes," she explains. "I've been able to find dozens of different varieties of mint ranging from orange mint to chocolate mint to pineapple mint." The cocktail expert has even found a Bob Marley mint!
Of course berries are also big on Haasarud's list, and it may come as a surprise to your cocktail tastes, but she also loves heirloom tomatoes as a delicious base for savory drinks.
Infused olive oils and avocado oil are unique ingredients that not only create memorable signature cocktails, they are also heart healthy additions. Haasarud uses avocados and avocado oil to add a nice creamy element to a drinks, particularly margaritas. The cocktail expert has quite an affinity for olive oil infusions, too.
"In Phoenix there is a local olive mill called Queen's Creek Olive Mill, that has a wide variety of infused olive oils," says Haasarud. "I make a chocolate martini with a few drops of their blood orange infused olive oil – it tastes like one of those chocolate orange balls."
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