We have an arugula fixation. There’s just nothing quite like those peppery, feathery greens. So when we found a cocktail made from the leaves – an arugula gimlet with fresh lime, no less – we were floored. Little did we know, we’d stumbled into another world of farm-to-glass cocktails altogether.
Matthew Biancaniello, formerly of the Roosevelt’s Library Bar, and now property of the world as he travels to dazzle bar-goers at illustrious spots around the globe, is creating cocktails like you’ve never tasted or seen. Matthew uses foraged ingredients from the Santa Monica mountains, herbs he grows in his own garden, and just about anything you’d expect from a food chef in his exotic cocktails–handmade, uni-laced alcoholic ice cream included.
Ingredients in Matthew’s cocktails above include such far-flung finds as white fir-infused spirits, chive blossoms, ghee, slow-cooked figs and flowering cinnamon Thai basil. We’re so intrigued by what Biancaniello is up to we asked him to share a few of his bar tricks for those of us who love to shake it up for parties at home. Read his tips and get his farm-to-glass recipe below. You can find Matthew this summer at the pop-up cocktail bar on the patio at Cliff’s Edge on Sunset here in LA. Cheers!
Using the most unusual and freshest ingredients I can find and turning people on to new flavors.
Roquette-wild arugula gimlet.
Fave summer ingredient
Passionfruit and green zebra heirloom tomatoes.
Fave flavor profile
Best home bar-tending tip
Have a really great muddler with teeth, OXO makes a good one, so you can really blend the herbs and fruits in the shaker.
Best non-alcoholic drink for summer guests
Pellegrino with golden raspberries, sage and fresh ginger with blackberries on top.
Biggest tip for adventurous home bars
Grow your own herbs that you can’t find at local farmers market or supermarket, like Cuban oregano.
3 home bar must-haves
iSi Cream Whipper for making foams, ice cream maker for making alcoholic ice creams and a really good shucker for making alcoholic oysters.
Weirdest ingredient you use
Uni and ants.
Tell us about Calisaya...
I got into Calisaya because I wanted a replacement for for Campari, which has corn syrup and artificial dyes added to it. Calisaya is from Oregon and an Italian liqueur that was popular before prohibition and is made from cinchona bark, botanicals, citrus peels and flowers. It has beautiful bittersweet quality that is incredible in cocktails.
Okra and Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato Cocktail
2 oz okra-infused Novo Fogo silver Cachaça (organic) (infuse 1/2 pound of okra in one bottle for one week)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz honey syrup (1:1 ratio of honey to water)
2 green zebra heirloom tomatoes
5 lovage leaves
5 leek blossoms or 3 small pieces of chopped scallion
Mix and enjoy!