Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus takes you to the charming town of Healdsburg, California, located in the heart of Northern Sonoma's wine country. The country and the world are just beginning to realize that this area is quite special and possesses so much more than premier vineyards. Small farmhouse dairies, sustainable meat producers, and dozens of organic farms all dot the landscape and collectively make this area a rich, multi-faceted foodie paradise.
When Scott Beattie moved to this area in early 2005 to develop the bar program for the acclaimed CYRUS RESTAURANT, he became immediately enthralled with the goods available at Healdsburg’s two weekly farmers’ markets, which open every May and last until November. Over the course of that first year at Cyrus, Scott was using over a dozen different varieties of fresh herbs, several kinds of cherries, peaches, plums, many varieties of local berries, rhubarb, edible flowers, pomegranates, apples, wine grapes, tomatoes, and peppers. All of these hyper-seasonal ingredients were being grown by organic farmers who lived in the immediate area and who quickly became good friends of Cyrus. Scott soon learned from these farmers that many things could even be foraged for free in the nearby woods including wild huckleberries, blackberries, miner’s lettuce, and wild grapes All this wonderful produce became a part of the Cyrus bar program. Even in the winter when the farmers’ markets are closed, Scott took full advantage of the abundance of winter citrus available from friends in town. Meyer and Eureka lemons, Satsuma, blood, and navel oranges, Key and Rangpur limes, and ruby red grapefruits all were bartered to Cyrus for restaurant credit by many growers all through the winter until the onset of spring. To complement these local ingredients, Scott saw it fit to shape a good portion of his cocktail list around spirits born in the Bay Area coming from artisanal distilleries like Domaine Charbay, St. George Spirits Hangar One),(Anchor Distillery, Sarticious Gin, 209 Gin, and Germain-Robin. Over the last three years, the Cyrus cocktail program has become proof that you can enjoy cocktails that are made almost entirely from local ingredients, virtually year-round.
Artisanal Cocktails takes Scott’s passion for using great ingredients to a practical level for both the home bartender and the professional one. The book follows the four seasons, presents produce that one might find at a farmers’ market at a particular time of year, and teaches the reader how to process each ingredient correctly for use in seasonal cocktails. Examples include how to make the perfect puree from ripe summer white peaches, why it’s best to cook huckleberries down to a syrup with sugar and verjus (rather than muddle them down), how to make two stellar pickling liquids for pickling all kinds of vegetables throughout the year, and how to make your own heirloom tomato juice and tomato water. There are also lots of useful techniques outlined in Artisanal Cocktails, such as how to make juice-based foams, infuse simple syrups with dry spices and/or essential oils, and how to dehydrate a myriad of different fruit slices at home with your oven. There are 50 recipes in the book but the techniques laid out in “Artisanal Cocktails” will give the reader the know-how to do countless variations on their own.
Many critics have said that Scott Beattie’s cocktails are drinkable works of art. Artisanal Cocktails shows its audience how to select prime produce, identify stunning edible flowers, create original garnishes, and also how to assemble cocktails in a very easy, but particular fashion that will result in visually. Though these cocktails might seem at first glance to be too complicated to recreate at home, Scott explains that the passionate foodie will find that these cocktails can be produced by anyone that relishes in sourcing out great ingredients and taking the time to follow a recipe. These are, after all, culinary cocktails.