’Homegrown treats and snacks made with alcohol.
WRITTEN BY HEIDI BETHEL
PHOTOS BY JEN BRITTON
When you’re sitting on the porch swing on a beautiful sunny day, what sounds better than an ice-cold wedge of fresh watermelon? How about making that a tequila-spiked slice of goodness?
With farmers’ markets and neighborhood distilleries booming in the Reno-Tahoe area, this summer is the perfect time to enjoy some nibbles with a kick while supporting our local purveyors.
The POP in popsicle
Chef Anthony Fish at Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint in Carson City knows how to please the palate with his Sassy Peach Popsicle. A big fan of delicious frozen treats, Fish has served everything from pineapples to serrano peppers in his creations.
“We generally make popsicles with the fresh ingredients we find at our favorite farm stands,” says Jayme Watts, collaborator and co-owner of Sassafras. “You can pretty much put anything in a popsicle and make it up as you go along. Adding alcohol provides a softly spiked version.”
Sozzled confections don’t have to come in frozen form. Tom Adams, founder and distiller at Seven Troughs Distilling in Sparks, works with several patisseries that infuse his spirits into menu items. Think moonshine cherry truffles, dark and stormy jelly, and vodka blueberry jam.
How about some bourbon cream puffs? They’re Adams’ favorite and rightfully so. Made by Pam Bianco, owner of Snappy Service Café on Etsy and available for purchase at the Seven Troughs Distilling Tasting Room, these delicacies feature homemade whipped cream with the house bourbon folded in.
“When we get them in, I always eat too many. They are dangerously good,” Adams says.
Using alcohol with food, especially in instances where you’re not cooking it off, provides counterbalances to bring out distinct flavor profiles. Earl Spriggs, head distiller at Forsaken River Spirits in Reno, warns you to take caution with heavy-handed pours.
“You want to enhance the flavors and textures, not overpower them,” he says. “Start simple. Figure out the key flavors you like in the alcohol. With our gin, it could be the lavender and sage characters that highlight a raspberry mousse. Pick up a cocktail book and see what sounds interesting. I’d bet there’s a way to make it into a great treat or snack.”
Heidi Bethel spent many years behind the bar and always enjoyed food items with that extra oomph that comes from a little tipple. She encourages folks to experiment with adding spirits to their favorite summertime dishes.
Sassy Peach Popsicle
(courtesy of Anthony Fish, chef, Sassafras Eclectic Food Joint in Carson City. Serves 30)
12 fresh peaches
¼ cup bourbon
Simple syrup, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped (optional)
Cut an X in skin on bottom of each peach, and blanch them in boiling water 90 seconds. Remove and transfer to ice bath. Peel skin, remove pits, and cut into fine chunks. Stir in bourbon. Mix peach chunks well with liquor, then add simple syrup. Add mint, if using. Pour into popsicle or ice-cube trays. Insert serving stick. Freeze until set.