Farm to Shaker - A Locavore adventure by Kit Rose

by Kit Rose

Photos by Social Palates

What has become known as the locavore movement is the result of consumers becoming increasingly aware of where their food comes from, and possible thanks to the appearance of Farmer's Markets everywhere from large cities to the small corners of suburbia. The typical season for these markets is summer, however many can be found year round, including here in Salem. 

Just this year, Massachusetts was ranked 11th in the country for its support of local food (via VT based Locavore Index). In fact, all six New England states are in the top twenty. Out of 351 towns and cities in MA, 292 Farmer's Markets can be found here. Of course, the local produce and other foods don't just make for a fresh meal; Salem Sips has some fun, fresh, and festive cocktail recipes for you to try featuring ingredients available at most markets! And here's a bit of Farmer's Market trivia: the largest one in the world is in Tokyo, hosting over 1700 vendors. The most famous and successful is Pike Place Market in Seattle (fish mongers!). 

Happy Sipping! 



Bring one cup of water, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and a half cup of local maple syrup to a simmer until all sugar dissolves; let cool. Pour 3 oz of bourbon into a mug, add 2 oz of the maple simple syrup, and top with hot water. 



In a large pitcher, combine sliced local apples, 4 cinnamon sticks, one bottle of reisling,  one cup of local apple cider, and lemon slices. Let chill a few hours then pour into wine glasses over ice. 



Juice four to six green heirloom tomatoes and half of a cucumber.  Add 2 oz of cucumber vodka, half ounce of horseradish, pinch of celery salt, and dash of green hot sauce. Shake and strain over ice. Garnish with cucumber slice and lemon wedge. 



In a sauce pan, combine 2 cups of water,  1.5 cups of sugar, one cup of fresh cranberries, and one quarter cup of fresh peeled and chopped ginger. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved and cranberries begin to burst (careful not to boil it!). Let cool, and discard the berries and ginger. In a shaker, add 5 oz ginger vodka and 1 oz of the cranberry syrup. Add ice, shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh cranberries. 



Using local produce such as fruit and herbs, add your favorites to plain vodka, white rum, or tequila. Some ideas are appleberry vodka, sugar pumpkin rum, or jalapeño tequila!  Tell us in the comments which infusion you'll be making and let us know if you make one of the above Farm to Shaker cocktails! 

To Bordeaux or not Bordeaux that is the question

Merci Bordeaux by Kit Rose

Arguably the most important wine region of France, Bordeaux has been producing and exporting fine wines for centuries.  Situated along the south western coast, two major rivers, Garonne to the west and Dordogne to the east, divide the region into three districts until they meet at the Gironde Estuary which empties into the Atlantic.  Here, I hand drew you this map------>

These three districts are the Left Bank, Right Bank, and Entre-Deux-Mers.  All three have different soils and microclimates, resulting in very different wines. A coastal forest protects the region from salty winds, heavy rainfall, and winter frosts. What's left are early springs, warm summers, and late falls with little rain. The even climate during these crucial months is a vintner's dream. Plump, fleshy grapes are able to reach their fullest ripening potential, giving the region their well deserved wine making bragging rights. 

While almost 90% of Bordeaux wines are red (variable blends of cabernet sauvignon,  merlot, cabernet franc,  and petit verdot), the soft and sweet whites of the southern Left Bank vineyards  in Sauternes and Barsac are equally excellently crafted from sémillon,  sauvignon blanc,  and muscadelle.  

Between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers lies the district of Entre-Deux-Mers, also producing mostly reds along with some of the driest whites of Bordeaux from blends of strictly sauvignon blanc and sémillon.  To the North where the rivers meet at the Gironde is the appellation of Médoc, where gravel and well drained soils produce some of the finest wines in the world, such as the vigorous Pauillac.  

Salem Sips encourages you to explore the world of Bordeaux right here in town; some are wallet friendly and some not so much!  Here are some options to start you out, and let us know which ones you've tried! 



Save: 2012 Château Haut Pingat,  $9.99 Loring Liquors

Splurge: 2005 Château Haut Bages Averous,  $90 Adriatic

Super Splurge: 1983 Château Margaux,  $599.99 Vinnin Liquors*

*We know, it's not in Salem, but Vinnin Liquors offers the widest variety we could find, with bottle prices ranging from $7.99 to $599.99!

Happy Sipping! 

Because Bourbon by Kit Rose

This month will mark the 23rd Annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, in honor of September being National Bourbon Heritage Month.  The exact original recipe of our American Whiskey has long been debated, but it remains agreed upon that this spirit is a Scottish inspired, corn mash (minimum 51% to be considered bourbon) and Kentucky water made liquor that was aged in charred oak barrels sent along the southern Ohio and Mississippi rivers to their recipients. The combination of char, corn, and oak, after river aging, is what eventually gave it its reddish hue, camp-fire aroma, and sweet taste. Like a fine wine, a true bourbon lover will seek out the complex nose, notes and finish of this southern spirit. Use this list below to give you an idea of the differences among brands, and let us know your favorite! 

Jim Beam: floral with slight sweetness.

Maker's Mark: slightly maple with dry finish.

Knob Creek: full bodied and slightly sweet.

Bulleit: strong vanilla, sweet and smokey. 

Woodford Reserve: oaky with toffee, long finish.

Angel's Envy: rich, fruity, and silky.

Baker's: mellow with slight anise. 

Blanton's: creamy vanilla, spicy finish.

Buffalo Trace: smooth and toasty with vanilla.

It is recommended by bourbon enthusiasts to drink it neat with one ice cube.  Bourbon drinks, such as the classic Manhattan, should be stirred, not shaken. By shaking any drink, you are aerating and diluting it.  Fine to do with other liquors and mixers that need the extra love, but bourbon thrives enough on its own when the authenticity of its clarity and minimal weakening shines. 

In honor of America's true native spirit, and to pay homage to our ancestors and this month being its Heritage Month, be sure to order a Bourbon while you are out this September. Most Salem establishments carry the usual Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Knob Creek and Bulliet, but you could also stop by Busa Wine & Spirits (carrying a wide variety, and best in our opinion) to try others like Angel's Envy ($46.99), Buffalo Trace ($28.99), Baker's ($38.99), Blanton's ($46.99), and Woodford Reserve ($33.99).  If you prefer a little adventure with your bourbon, try the recipe below.   

Happy Sipping!


3 oz Bourbon

1 oz Apple brandy 

.5 oz lemon juice

.5 oz local honey

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Fill cocktail glass with ice. Add all ingredients and stir well. Strain over fresh ice. 

It's the Great Pumpkin(Beer) Charlie Brown - Love it or Hate it?

Pumpkin Wars!

by Kit Rose

Named pepon by the Greeks, meaning large melon, the pumpkin has been a staple squash in North America since our colonial days.  Early settlers used it in endless ways, including their homemade beers.  Mainly because of its availability (malts were hard to come by) and highly fermentable sugars, pumpkin was not brewed for flavor like the beers we consume now.  In fact, as malts, hops, and barleys became more prevalent, the use of pumpkin dissipated.  It wasn't until the craft beer movement of the 1980's that it was reintroduced as a category of beer.  Surprisingly too, not all brewers actually use real pumpkin, while the focus is on the blending of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and allspice.

It is no secret that in our little New England neighborhood,  we love pumpkin in all drinks and dishes.  With the sun blazing and fall still weeks away, there is a two-sided opinion around this time of year regarding the appearance of pumpkin; half say it's too early and the other scream FINALLY!   PUMPKIN BEER!  PUMPKIN LATTÉS! PUMPKIN EVERYTHING!   

Those of you screaming, we can guess, had your Halloween costume planned out back in May, are day dreaming over the list of fall spice induced recipes you'll make with apples (that you will hand-pick of course), and have already mixed cinnamon, sugar, and caramel to rim your pumpkin beer with.  For you, it's the best time of the year.

The other half saying it's too early are going to hold on to summer for as long as you can, and we love you for that too.

Neither side is wrong... whether you hang on to summer or embrace the fall, we can all agree that pumpkin flavors in our drinks and dishes are amazing.  Raviolis, pastries, martinis, coffees, and especially beer, we will eventually succumb to its greatness.  The timing doesn't matter.  Just into the early weeks of September, below is a list of where pumpkin beer is already being served, with a brief description of each to aid your decision. Rest assured that other establishments have kegs on hand for the end of the month, so this list is sure to expand by October!

If you have a favorite pumpkin beer not listed, let us know in the comments.  Salem Sips also wants to know if you prefer yours with vanilla vodka and a cinnamon-sugar rim or do you drink it as is?  Have you tried it with Pinnacle Cinnabon (WHAT!)?


Welcome to Salem Sips!  This blog is intended to showcase an array of fine wines, creative cocktails, and craft beers featured at some of your favorite local establishments.  With an educational and informative approach, Kit Rose will highlight a weekly subject and list her favorite local spots where those items are available.  Kit has been in the food and beverage business for 20 years, both front & back of house, locally and afar.   If you have questions or comments for Kit, please email her.  Happy Sipping! 

Tough Muddlers - Salem Edition

By Kit Rose

A seasoned bartender will have the technique down perfect. Sturdy wooden muddler in hand, they will twist and smash on fresh fruit and herbs to extract the perfect amount of essential oils to then be mixed with an added sweetener and potent liquor. The classics are Mojitos, Old Fashions, Juleps, and Whiskey Smashes. We have some very creative muddlers right here in Salem, so be sure to venture out before they all change their drink menus for the fall. 

In typical muddle fashion, in-season fruits are included in icy cold creations to excite the palates of locals and tourists alike. While the exact time and location of the invention of these cocktails is debatable, it is likely they began in the southern states where hot, humid days meant cooling off at cocktail hour with a minty refreshing concoction in one hand, parasol in the other.

With an abundance of different herbs, fruits, and liquors, there is an endless list of possible muddled combinations. Savory herbs are not uncommon, such as basil with lemon, cilantro with lime, sage with pink grapefruit, rosemary with blood orange, or even lavender with blueberries. These fuses make for a surprisingly pleasing drink. Served over crushed ice, they are sure to satisfy on a warm day. 

To name a few, such as the Kiwi Pineapple Margarita and Bourbon Drank at A&B, or Watermelon Mojito and JP Wiser Smash at Rockafella's, it is simple to find a well muddled drink in this town. Turner's put a twist on a classic Mojito by serving a muddled mint and gin martini straight up, named the Kirkland. Almost anywhere you visit will be able to serve you the classics listed, however I have included some of my nontraditional recipes. Make sure you have a muddler, shaker, and strainer and you'll be all set! Tell Salem Sips in the comments which recipe you'll be trying! 

Happy Sipping! 


2 oz. Silver tequila

1.5 oz. Sour mix

5 cucumber slices

10 cilantro sprigs

2 lime wedges

Muddle the cucumber, lime, and cilantro in a shaker. Top with ice, tequila, 

and sour mix. Shake well and strain over fresh ice in low rocks glass. 


handful of fresh blueberries

3 oz. Gin

2 oz. Sour mix

8-10 basil leaves

.5 oz. Spikerz blueberry lavender syrup

.5 oz. sparkling wine

Muddle the blueberries and basil in a shaker. Top with ice, gun, sour mix, 

and syrup. Shake well and strain over fresh ice in high ball cocktail glass. 

Top with sparkling wine. 


2 oz. Vodka

1 oz. Fresh lime juice

2 sprigs fresh dill

2 pink grapefruit slices

Club soda

Muddle the dill and grapefruit in a shaker. Top with ice, vodka, and lime 

juice. Shake well and strain over fresh ice in highball cocktail glass. Top with 

club soda.

Welcome to Salem Sips!  This blog is intended to showcase an array of fine wines, creative cocktails, and craft beers featured at some of your favorite local establishments.  With an educational and informative approach, Kit Rose will highlight a weekly subject and list her favorite local spots where those items are available.  Kit has been in the food and beverage business for 20 years, both front & back of house, locally and afar.   If you have questions or comments for Kit, please email her.  Happy Sipping!