Maybe it's the below-average temperatures this summer, or maybe I'm already looking forward to fall, but lately I've been intrigued by bars and restaurants using warm ingredients in unusually refreshing ways.
By warm, I don't mean hot. I mean rich, comforting, spiced. Don't call it a trend, but I've perceived a bit of a … well, a popular concept. That's easy to do when you have companies like Art in the Age making liquors out of sage, root, rhubarb and gingersnap. The challenge is crafting the right recipe around a savory spirit. Enter the Canton Hooch, Farmstead Grill's seasonally shape-shifting cocktail.
The brand-new (it opened in June) Canton Crossing restaurant is big on farm-to-table fare. Similarly, its cocktail program infuses fresh, thoughtful ingredients into unique concoctions.
Nearly all 11 Farmstead cocktails incorporate an unexpected ingredient. But for all the bells and whistles and creativity, I was most attracted to the Canton Hooch. No, not because I was secretly hoping I was going to be served some sort of locally sourced bathtub gin, as the name implies. But because of its simplicity: gingersnap liqueur shaken with fresh peach juice and spiced syrup.
The SNAP brand liqueur in the Hooch is a treat all its own, with a refined, sophisticated taste one doesn't expect to get in a summer drink. Organic, it's made with hearty blackstrap molasses and fresh ginger — no added sugar. That's important to note, particularly if you're used to ginger ales or beers that tend to have a processed, saccharine twang.
Instead, the ginger retains an earthy flavor. Alone, that doesn't complete the refreshing cocktail you're craving in August. So how smart of Farmstead to incorporate the sunshine of peach juice to mix it up? House-made spiced simple syrup provides even more lightness to balance the rooty base.
Travis Pedley, general manager, noted that fresh juices play a large role at Farmstead — you can get non-alcoholic mixed juices at the adjacent Farmstead Shack, a quick-order version of the restaurant.
Find me a way to smuggle out the Canton Hooch in a to-go cup. There might not be a more surprisingly light taste of summer around.
How to Make the Canton Hooch
2 parts SNAP
2 parts fresh peach juice
1 part ginger infused simple syrup
Combine ingredients in a pint or highball glass over ice and garnish with an orange wedge.
Where to Get the Canton Hooch
3721 Boston St., Canton