The Friday Tipple: Carrot Top… Revisited

Carrot Top

Spontaneity is the spice of life, Boozers. We had plans for a fascinating foray into the world of fresh turmeric this week, but ended up with several pounds of fresh carrots instead. No matter, we like to go with the flow, and we’ll explore the turmeric next week – so consider yourselves warned. But a boatload of carrots brought us back to one of our favorite Tipples: the Carrot Top.

Carrots make a perfect base for a cocktail, especially in the spring. They have a lovely fresh sweetness and can be infused quickly into a variety of liquors. The color is gorgeous also, so you end up with a cocktail that just makes you happy. And at the end of a long week, what else really matters?

Carrot Top… Revisited

Our first exploration into carrot-infused liquor centered on rye whiskey, but it works equally well with vodka (as  discovered by Boozed+Infused), and we’ve chosen today to match it with a sunny gin from Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. Yes, you really can do a quick infusion in just a couple of hours – we think it creates a really fresh flavor, as the gin is just kissed by the carrots, giving it a lighter, less earthy, quality.

to make the infused gin:

1 fresh carrot, grated

1/2 cup gin

1-inch chunk fresh ginger

1 teaspoon lavender honey

Place all ingredients in a jar and stir well. Cover and set aside for a couple of hours, then strain. Will keep for up to weeks.

to make a lovely and refreshing cocktail:

2 ounces carrot-infused gin

1 ounce ginger juice (often found at health food stores)

2 ounces chilled tonic water

wedge of fresh lemon

Put first three ingredients in a tall glass filled with ice, stir briskly, and garnish with lemon.

The Friday Tipple: Carrot Top

We’re gripped by spring fever, Boozers. Never mind that Punxsutawney Phil predicted an extended winter or that we see snowflakes in Monday’s forecast— we are now firmly planted in meteorological spring and nothing can turn us back even as the clocks move forward just a week from now. Spring has sprung.

Building on last week’s exploration of root vegetable cocktails — and an unintentional nod to 1980s pop culture — we were inspired yet again by the fresh produce delivered by our friendly green grocer. Nothing heralds spring more than a cheerful bunch of carrots, sweet and crunchy and topped by a frothy head of green fronds. Carrots are particularly sweet in the early spring, when frosty nights help concentrate their natural sugars and the warm sunny days allow them to deepen in flavor.

The pairing of carrots with rye whiskey is a perfect match for spring, which, as Charles Dickens said, is a time “when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade” — the rye has a comforting spicy warmth while the carrots lend a welcome note of bright sunshine. The Carrot Top is a necessary shot of spring; go ahead and put on the flip flops that you’ve been eyeing longingly in your closet. You might want to throw on a pair of toe socks with them, just in case. Cheers!

Carrot Top

This lovely little infusion makes a fabulous aperitif on its own, but also makes a smashing cocktail when poured over ginger beer on ice (and, even better, throw in a splash of Stone’s Ginger Wine to add another layer of flavor). If you don’t have crystallized ginger, then substitute a couple of small chunks of fresh ginger and about a 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar.

1/2 cup rye whiskey (we used Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye)

1 carrot, freshly grated

3 chunks of crystallized ginger, about 1-inch each

Place all ingredients in a jar and set aside for two hours. Strain liquid and discard carrot and ginger. To serve, put two ounces of infused rye into a cocktail shaker with an ice cube and shake vigorously. Strain into an aperitif or shot glass and sip responsibly.