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Step onto Urban Roots Farm, located just southwest of downtown Springfield, for Cocktails on the Farm, and you’re instantly transported out of the city and into a bucolic, enchanting scene where women rule and small-batch spirits flow. Inspired by a desire to create a space where women can explore mixology using local, seasonal ingredients, Mallory Leicht (the blogger and foodie behind Chase the Flavors) and Melissa Young-Millsap (co-owner of Urban Roots Farm) dreamed up a recurrent cocktail workshop. The idea was for women to make their own drinks and, along the way, learn about the processes and flavor pairings that go into them. After some initial legwork, Cocktails on the Farm was born in July 2015. 


At October’s Cocktails on the Farm event, Angelina Crawford manned the first drink station and helped guests build a West Central Sour, Chase the Flavor’s twist on the  New York Sour.  

Leicht is in charge of organizing each event while Young-Millsap makes sure the farm is ready for the influx of guests. “I do the menu, planning and development and execution, and Mel makes the farm beautiful,” Leicht says. “Mel is the master host.” 

October was the last workshop of 2015 (don’t worry, Cocktails on the Farm will start back up in March 2016), and Leicht planned the menu around bitters. Bitters are made by taking high-proof, clear spirits and infusing them with botanical and herbal ingredients. 

As guests checked in they were given a small Mason jar that would be their glass. There were three cocktail stations, and each station had two recipes. Participants got to choose one cocktail to make at each station. 

Many of the ingredients were grown right there on the farm, like the ginger in the simple syrup that went into the Plumette’s Revival. A majority of the other ingredients were sourced locally from places like MaMa Jean’s Natural Market, Homegrown Food and Coffee Ethic. All of the spirits came from Copper Run Distillery, and there was a table set up where you could taste the alcohol separate from the cocktails. 

Homemade goodies by Grace Rybarczyk of Grace in the Kitchen, including a scrumptious batch of alcohol-infused chocolate nib cookies, were piled high on a buffet table. Women enjoyed their drinks under the cover of a high tunnel or at one of the two fire pits. As the night wound down, guests lingered, chatting with new friends, wanting to savor the final magical moments of an evening spent on the farm.


Guests were instructed on how to make each cocktail and got to try their hands at different mixology techniques including shaking, muddling and juicing fresh citrus. 

1. Whiskey, pumpkin butter, lemon juice, apple cider, maple syrup, vanilla bitters and fresh sage went into the A Round of Applause for Sage and Pumpkin cocktail at the second station.  2. Savory scones made by Grace in the Kitchen were a huge hit with the guests. 3. The Midwest is Cool, Too cocktail was made with cocoa nib walnut-washed whiskey that Leicht made by fat washing Copper Run whiskey with walnut oil and Askinosie chocolate. 4. Many of the drink ingredients were sourced right from Urban Roots Farm, like the parsley used as garnish for the Bloody Lovely/Rise and Shine. 

 

Grace Rybarczyk of Grace in the Kitchen provides the food for all of the Cocktails on the Farm workshops. Rybarczyk focuses on fresh, local and made-from-scratch food like these raw and roasted veggies. 


Two firepits were popular destinations for guests who wanted to sit down and warm up as the night turned chilly. 


Leicht made six bitters: absinth, autumn/black walnut, celery, hard herbs, orange and vanilla. 


Emilee Blansit helped guests make the Plumette’s Revival with ginger syrup and other tasty ingredients. 

The glass for the But First, Coffee cocktail was rimmed with an orange slice and dipped in chopped pistachios. 

Ryan Spilken provided tunes for the evening on his acoustic guitar.  

Learn More

Chase the Flavors: chasetheflavors.com

Urban Roots Farm: 417-597-4858, urbanrootsfarm.com

Grace in the Kitchen: thenudefoodie@gmail.com 

Copper Run Distillery: 417-587-3456, copperrundistillery.com

Ryan Spilken: ryanspilken.com

 

Recipes

All recipes are courtesy of Chase the Flavors. Check out chasetheflavors.com to find information about future events and more recipes.

 

WEST CENTRAL SOUR

Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces Copper Run Whiskey

1 ounce honey roasted pear purée*
1/2 ounce lemon juice

2 dashes autumn/black walnut bitters (homemade or Fee’s Black Walnut)
1/2 ounce dry red wine

rosemary sprig, for garnish

 

Combine whiskey, pear purée, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice, top with bitters, and stir. Hold a spoon upside down over the glass just above the drink’s surface and gently pour the red wine over the back of the spoon. Garnish with rosemary.

 

*HONEY ROASTED PEAR PURÉE

Makes about 1 cup
2 ripe pears, sliced lengthwise and cored
2 tablespoons honey

Juice of half a lemon

 

Whisk together honey with 1 tablespoon hot water. Brush the honey syrup across all sides of the pears, then place them cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until the pears are tender and velvety. Let cool, remove the skins, and process in a blender along with lemon juice until smooth.

 

BUT FIRST, COFFEE

Serves 1

Ground salted pistachios + orange wedge
1 ounce Copper Run Overproof White Rum
2 ounces cold brew coffee

1 ounce coconut milk

1 ounce date syrup

2 dashes orange bitters

 

Lightly wet the rim of the glass with an orange wedge or any citrus then turn the glass in the ground pistachios to coat the rim. Fill the glass with ice and set aside. Combine rum, cold brew, coconut milk and date syrup in a cocktail shaker with a scoop of ice. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds, strain into the glass. Top with bitters, stir, and serve.
 

A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR SAGE AND PUMPKIN

Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces Copper Run Whiskey

1 heaping tablespoon pumpkin butter*
1/2 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce apple cider

1/2 ounce maple syrup

2 dashes vanilla bitters

1 fresh sage leaf

 

Combine whiskey, pumpkin butter, lemon juice, apple cider and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with bitters and stir. Lay the sage leaf flat in one hand and give it a quick, but firm clap. Garnish the drink with the slapped sage.

*WHISKEY PUMPKIN BUTTER

Makes about 3 cups

3 pounds sugar pumpkin and/or butternut squash, cut in half and seeded
2 tablespoons oil

1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup brown sugar
3 ounces Copper Run whiskey

1 teaspoon salt

1 ounce lemon juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove

 

Brush all sides of pumpkin with oil and roast—cut-side down—on a foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Scrape out the flesh into a bowl and discard the skins. Omit that step if using canned pumpkin purée. Combine the remaining ingredients with the pumpkin purée and stir until smooth. Spread out onto a large foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until the pumpkin butter thickens and becomes a rich amber color. Let cool, transfer to a clean jar and refrigerate for up to one month.

 

MIDWEST IS COOL, TOO

Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces cocoa nib walnut-washed whiskey*
1 tablespoon fig preserves

3/4 ounce orange juice

Sparkling water, to taste
Candied ginger, for garnish

Combine whiskey, fig preserves and orange juice in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with candied ginger.

 

*COCOA NIB WALNUT OIL-WASHED WHISKEY

1 cup Askinosie Cocoa Nibs
1 1/2 ounces walnut oil

1 750 ml Copper Run Whiskey
 

Combine cocoa nibs, walnut oil and whiskey in a freezer safe container. Infuse at room temperature for one week. Strain out the cocoa nibs (reserve for a separate use like an addition to baked goods). Place the container of whiskey and walnut oil in the freezer for a few hours, until the walnut oil solidifies. Scrape out the walnut oil, return the whiskey to room temperature.
 

BLOODY LOVELY / RISE AND SHINE

Serves 1

1 1/2 ounces Copper Run Moonshine

1 tablespoon roasted vegetable paste*
1 1/2 ounces tomato juice

1/2 ounce lemon juice

Pinch of smoked salt

2 dashes celery bitters
Herbs, lemon wedges, and pickled vegetables of choice, for garnish
 

Whisk together moonshine and vegetable paste in the glass. Stir in tomato juice and lemon juice. Add ice and top with smoked salt and celery bitters, then give it a quick stir. Garnish with various herbs, pickled vegetables or a lemon wedge.
 

*ROASTED VEGETABLE PASTE

makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 pound assorted root vegetables: carrot, turnip, sweet potato, shallot, beet, onion, etc.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Clean, peel, and slice the vegetables into uniform pieces around an 1 1/2 inches in size. Toss with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees for 1 hour, or until tender. Cool and process in a blender until smooth. Use for drinks or as an addition to soups/stews.

 

PLUMETTE’S REVIVAL

Serves 1

1 ounce Copper Run Overproof White Rum
1 ounce brown sugar roasted plum purée*
1/2 ounce lime juice

1 ounce ginger simple syrup**
pinch of salt

Sparkling water, to taste

Plum slice and pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Combine rum, plum purée, lime juice, ginger simple syrup and salt in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a plum slice and a pinch of pumpkin seeds.

*BROWN SUGAR ROASTED PLUM PURÉE

Makes about 1 cup

3 ripe plums, sliced lengthwise and cored
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Juice of half a lemon
 

Place the plums cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet, tucking brown sugar beneath them, then sprinkle the remaining brown sugar across their tops. Roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, until the plums are tender and velvety. Cool, remove the skin and process in a blender along with lemon juice until smooth.

 

**GINGER SIMPLE SYRUP

Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bring to a boil ginger, sugar, salt and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, stir to fully dissolve the sugar, reduce to low heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool, strain out the ginger and refrigerate for up to one week.

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