Verdant green is one of the images that I associate with Spring.
Here's a verdant green cocktail recipe I selected from The American Cocktail "50 Recipes That Celebrate the Craft of Mixing Drinks From Coast to Coast" (Chronicle Books, Fall 2011) gathered by Karen Foley and the Imbibe Magazine team.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that anything can grow in the water-deprived desert climate of Arizona, but some plants, such as the paper-husked tomatillo, actually thrive in the heatdrenched environment. And thanks to its earthy, lemony tang, this Latin American culinary staple also harmonizes deliciously in mixed drinks, like this one from Flagstaff bartender, Katie Dembs.
The small mountain town of Flagstaff, known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon, sees nearly five million visitors each year, and the Criollo Latin Kitchen, just off of the historic Route 66, is always ready for the masses with a batch of its housemade salsa verde. Playing off of those traditional saucy flavors, Dembs combines fresh tomatillos with red onion, cilantro, avocado, and añejo tequila for a savory sipper that could be considered its own gateway to the culinary crossover of the tomatillo.
Garnish: lime wheel and cilantro sprig
2 ounces añejo tequila
2 tomatillos, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped red onion
6 fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 ripe avocado
3/4-inch ring of fresh jalapeño chile, seeded
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 lager ale
Combine the tequila, tomatillos, onion, cilantro leaves, avocado, chile ring, and lime juice in a blender and blend on highest setting for 20 seconds, or until smooth. Pour into an ice-filled Collins glass, top with the lager, and stir gently. Garnish with the lime wheel and cilantro sprig.
Katie Dembs, Criollo Latin Kitchen, Flagstaff, Arizona
(* Recipe from The American Cocktail "50 Recipes That Celebrate the Craft of Mixing Drinks From Coast to Coast" -Chronicle Books, Fall 2011- Photo by Sheri Giblin- all rights reserved)