As a chef, it is important for me to work with ingredients that are versatile, fresh, and flexible. Especially during the summer months when fresh ingredients are plentiful, having a craft spirit to mix seasonal ingredients with is key! That is why I love working with The Botanist Gin – its versatility allows me to use my hand-picked summer finds in unique ways and the 22 hand-foraged botanicals cover a wide range of flavor profiles, including sweet, herbal, citrus, floral and aromatic, making it fun to work with! This month the farmers market was flourishing with deliciously sweet berries, fresh herbs and colorful vegetables. I was able to snag some juicy strawberries, fresh thyme, sugar snap peas and golden beets.
I just knew the strawberries and thyme would pair deliciously with The Botanist Gin – bringing forth the floral, sweet and herbal flavors of the 22 hand-foraged botanist in the gin and balancing out the sweetness of the strawberries with the earthiness of the thyme. Alongside the Strawberry Thyme Gin Smash, I whipped up a simple Sugar Snap Pea & Golden Beet Salad – in less than 10 minutes! The pairing of the salad is perfect – the sweetness of the sugar snap peas matches the sweetness of the strawberries and the smooth taste of The Botanist Gin allows for all of the flavors to combine well on the palette without being overbearing. The addition of Calabrian chili and garlic add a nice heat to help tie everything together.
Check out the recipes below and head to your local farmers market to find the freshest local ingredients to make this delicious summer cocktail with The Botanist Gin and culinary pairing for you and your loved one!
Strawberry Thyme Gin Smash (makes 2 cocktails):
- The Botanist Gin — 2oz.
- Fresh Organic Strawberries — 8-10
- Sprigs of Fresh Thyme — 4-6
- Sparkling Water — 6-8 oz.
Sugar Snap Pea & Golden Beet Salad:
- 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas – edges trimmed
- 4-5 medium sized golden beets – peeled and sliced thin
- 1 Calabrian chili – sliced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced
- black pepper
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Calabrian chili oil
- 1 small ciabatta baguette
- 3 cups leafy greens – any you prefer
- handful of fresh basil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp light agave
- 1 Calabrian chili – minced
- black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil
For the Strawberry Thyme Botanist Gin Smash:
- I recommend making 1 cocktail at a time. In a mixing glass, place in 3-4 strawberries sliced. Take the leaves off of 2 fresh sprigs of thyme and add to the mixing glass with the strawberries. Using a muddler (or the back of a wooden spoon if you don’t have a muddler), muddle together the strawberries and thyme until pulpy and fragrant. Add in 2oz of The Botanist Gin and stir. In your cocktail glass, add ice and then use a fine strainer to pour the muddled mixture into a glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a strawberry and sprig of thyme.
For the Dressing:
- Mix together the lemon juice, agave, chili, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until combined and thickened. Set aside.
For the Salad:
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. Once hot, add in the EVOO and chili oil. Add in the sliced garlic and chopped Calabrian chili. Sauté for about 30 seconds, then add the sugar snap peas and beets. Sauté on medium-high flame for about 2-3 minutes – sprinkle in some salt and black pepper. Continue sautéing for another 5-6 minutes or so until vegetables are fork tender. Remove and let cool on a plate.
- Place the skillet back on the stove on medium flame. Keep the residual oil in there. Slice the baguette lengthwise and toast in the pan with the residual oil until golden brown and crisp. Remove and let cool.
- On a large platter, place the leafy greens – tear them up to be a bit more bite size. Tear up the basil as well. Spread the sugar snap pea and beets all over the leafy greens. Take the baguette and tear it into bite size pieces and spread all on top of salad. Drizzle with dressing lightly and serve.