I’ve been writing every so often about products and services that really make a difference in my life. I’m naturally attracted to the craft food business, probably because I used to be a cook and manufacturer of fresh pasta. Back when I lived in Charleston, SC-pre-Hugo, I co-founded the only manufacturing company of fresh (not frozen or extruded) pasta in South Carolina. It failed after the hurricane.
That’s why I champion small business, because I cannot change the past, nor would I want to, so to make going forward easier I reflect on the past with a smile and give kudos to small businesses that I really like- all in the spirit of giving. It’s my way. Bartending taught me to be insightful and attentive to people. There is Zen in bartending. And that brings me to the wonderfully expressive micro products from Fresh Origins. From the moment that I opened the box, brimming with goodies from their farms in San Diego I knew that my job was going to be easy.
Mint is my passion. Growing up on a farm belonging to my family in New Jersey taught me to appreciate the seasons of growing. I was particularly interested in growing fresh herbs with seeds that I brought back from my travels around the world. As a former cook I made good connections in restaurant kitchens because I spoke the language of food. Maybe not the kitchen Spanish, but certainly the feeling that food comes from the heart. I would bring chefs fresh mint and fennel from my garden. No one in NYC it seemed in the 80’s was working with fresh herbs, but times have certainly evolved since then with every variety of micro-green available in 24 hrs. or fewer to anywhere in the world.
Cocktails for me are the same thing and the ability to turn an idea into a finished drink comes easily to me. I love flavor and color. Balance is everything- right down to the garnish.
Fresh herbs are the same thing. They change from season to season. Their terroir is unique to the place and they speak a language of passion to the creative chef or free-spirited mixologist. When I discovered Fresh Origins I knew in my heart that whomever is growing these carefully packaged herbs and harvesting them, do so with a smile.
You can feel it the moment the box is opened.
The package was a large, well marked cardboard box, lined with Styrofoam with two freezer bags wrapped in paper (that’s old fashioned a/c for ye!) and I was immediately taken by the product. Each one certainly has a terroir. I love mint…
I tasted through all the varieties that I’ve been sent and immediately got thirsty.. And hungry… I wanted to make pesto out of the Mint Licorice and mint juleps out of the Mint Lemon™ and Absinthe Frappes out of the Micro Mint Lime™ and that wasn’t even before I discovered the Mint Apple Tops and then I started thinking about the marvelous rimmers that they included in my package. There are just so many things that I’m not sure where to begin! Talk about generous! Thank you!
The marvelous herb, flower and fruit rimmers are crystalized and infused in pure cane sugar. They are unique in the marketplace as I’ve never seen (or tasted) anything like them.
Here are some of my micro tasting notes:
- Mini Herb Crystals® Basil. Just like dashing through a basil patch carrying a mint julep in hand
- Mini Herb Crystals® Mint. Freshly cut mint infused into pure cane sugar.. Oh yum!
- Mini Herb Crystals® Cilantro. Margaritas will NEVER be the same. Sweet and savory and TANGY
- Mini Fruit Crystals® Cranberry… reminds me of being in New England. Can you say Rum?
- Mini Flower Crystals® Fennel… I’m suddenly transported to Little Italy and the gravy is flowing!
- Mini Flower Crystals® Hibiscus.. I don’t know how they do it.. sweet, tangy, amazing.
- Mini Flower Crystals® Rose…. This my friend is a trip down the Bosphorus without a passport.
A cocktail? Certainly I shall.
Anatolian Steamy Evening
- Mini Flower Crystals® Rose – for rim
- 2 oz. Raki
- 2 oz. Fresh Carrot Juice
- 1 oz. Carpano Antica Bianco
- (Dry Vermouth from Italy of the highest caliber)
- Bitter End Moroccan Bitters
- Large ice cube
- Coat rim of Old Fashioned glass with lemon
- Dip into a plate scattered with the Mini Flower Crystals® Rose
- Add large ice cube to the Old Fashioned glass
- Add Raki
- Add Carpano Antica Bianco
- Top with Fresh Carrot Juice
- Dot with 3-4 drops Bitter End Moroccan Bitters
Serve with a smile and then make yourself one!