Fresh Pours
Sip through summer with these refreshing summertime cocktails
by Bill Donahue

“Eat your vegetables,” as Mom always said. Little did she know that, thanks to creative bartenders and restaurateurs throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area, vegetables can be imbibed instead. Find some of the most refreshing cocktails, starring seasonal vegetables and other inventive ingredients, currently on the menu at bars and restaurants nearby. A caveat: Menus change frequently, so indulge in these specialty cocktails while supplies last, so to speak.

* Bar Bombon, a relatively new vegetarian restaurant from the owner HipCityVeg and “Charlie was a sinner,” offers The Beeting Heart. This cocktail is made with smoky mezcal, fresh beet juice, freshly squeezed lemon and apple liqueur, topped with a lemon twist.

* In Rittenhouse Square, Stephen Starr’s Barclay Prime features Beet the Heat, which combines tequila, fresh beet juice and agave, as well as habanero and fresh lime.

* Stop in at Brittingham’s in Plymouth Meeting for the Cool as a Cucumber. This margarita is made with Milagro tequila, triple sec and fresh lemon—not to mention, of course, the muddled cucumber and cucumber garnish.

* The Watermelon Martini (watermelon is, to split hairs, a fruit and a vegetable) at Jarrettown Hotel and Italian Restaurant in Dresher combines cucumber-lime vodka with fresh-squeezed watermelon juice—not from concentrate—and two tablespoons of simple syrup. Once poured over ice and shaken till “frothy,” the cocktail is served in a martini glass and garnished with lime or a cucumber wedge.

* The Liberté Lounge’s Val Garden is made with Uncle Val’s gin, St. Germain, cucumber, mint and lime. The hint of cucumber takes the edge of the summertime heat and humidity.

* A Spicy Pickle Martini? Count us in. If you feel the same, stop in at Maya.J Restaurant and Bar in Manayunk for this libation, made with spicy pickle juice, housemade pickles and, of course, vodka.

* The Cucumber Martini at Pipersville’s The Plumsteadville Inn begins by muddling fresh cucumber slices with a pinch of salt to bring out the natural flavor of the cucumber and balance the flavor of the drink. Add in the cucumber vodka and a proprietary blend of lime juice, lemon juice and simple syrup. Once shaken, poured and served with a cucumber slice garnish, this cocktail is ready to be enjoyed.

* The newly opened Ruth’s Chris Steak House Philadelphia presents the Cucumber Basil Gimlet. This light refreshing cocktail with fresh lime and a surprisingly pleasant crunch from cucumber slices. Ingredients include Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and fresh lime juice, as well as muddled cucumber and fresh basil leaves.

Photograph courtesy of Barclay Prime