My wife and I invited my sister over for dinner last Friday. The plan was to try to eat 100% local (we came close). My sister has a big garden so the salad was her responsibility along with one other very important ingredient: a cucumber.
A while back I tweeted a shout out for info on locally produced booze and learned about Prairie Organic Vodka from Phillips Distilling Company. I hadn't heard of it but I knew the Phillips name and some of their products, but not all. They've got an interesting success story.
Back to the dinner party plans, I got to thinking about cocktails (naturally) and what to mix with Prairie Vodka to create a 100% Minnesota cocktail. Since vermouth starts out as wine (before fortification and the addition of spices, etc.) I looked to my local wineries for the answer and found it in Alexis Bailly's ice wine Isis.
I quickly Googled my idea to see if anyone else had come up with this. Naturally, someone had. I found a Canadian company that sells it pre-mixed under the name VICE, and there's a recipe on Alexis Bailly's website for a Minnesota Martini originally created for the Dakota Bar. The Dakota recipe calls for a twist of orange. NOT Minnesota! Enter: my sister's Minnesota grown cucumber.
We combined 3 oz of Prairie Vodka and 1 oz of Isis and garnished with rolled strips of cucumber flesh (no peel) on a toothpick. The result was delicious. The mix created just the right balance of booziness and sweetness and the cucumber with it's melon flavor and slight bitterness made this cocktail sing. By the time we finished our drinks and ate the cucumber pieces, they had moved toward a more pickled flavor, capping a very rewarding experience. So we had another, and you should too.