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By RYAN NEWHOUSE

Two of my favorite things have finally come back to Missoula – sunshine and the Saturday markets. And when both of these fall on the same day downtown Missoula is a bustling, happy place. My family and I often spend our Saturday mornings at the markets.

Since my “green thumb” has long since turned brown and died, like everything else in my gardens, and we decided not to do a CSA this year (though I highly recommend them), this year we are committed to getting the bulk of our veggies direct from the growers at the markets.

So why do you care about the veggies and fruits I’m going to put on my plate? You don’t. But there’s another good reason I like shopping at the markets, and that’s because I can find lots of fresh things to put in my cocktails.

I’ve put together a short list of drink recipes that feature items you can pick up most Saturdays at our local markets.

 

Cucumber Martini

  • 2 ½ oz. Cucumber Vodka*
  • ½ oz. dry vermouth
  • 6 slices of fresh cucumber, divided (any type)
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Shaker

Muddle three cucumber slices at the bottom of your shaker and add ice, Cucumber Vodka, and dry vermouth. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, strain and serve with three remaining slices of cucumber.

*To make Cucumber Vodka, peel, seed and roughly chop one large cucumber (any type works, but English are preferred). Put the chopped cucumber in a quart-sized mason jar and pour one 750-ml bottle of your preferred vodka over the cucumber. Seal the jar with a lid and let sit for at least three days (or up to two weeks) in a cool, dark place. Strain the vodka back into its original bottle.

Rhubarb Mojito

  • 4 Tablespoons rhubarb syrup*
  • 1 oz. white rum
  • 5-6 mint leaves, shredded, muddled or torn
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • Lime for garnish

Add the rhubarb syrup and mint to your glass (highball recommended). Then add one ounce of white rum. Top with club soda, add ice and garnish with a wedge of lime.

*To make rhubarb syrup, thinly slice 3 pounds of rhubarb and add it to a medium, heavy pot. Then add 1 cup of light brown sugar, ½ cup of granulated sugar and 1 ½ cups of water. Bring these ingredients to a brief boil and then simmer until the rhubarb is soft. Strain out the rhubarb and return the liquid to the pot. Boil the liquid down a bit until you get a “syrupy” consistency. Cool completely before using. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Like these recipes? Share your own summer beverage receipes below! Slainte!