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Cocktail of the Week: “The Big Night” from Rich Table, San Francisco

In this week’s edition of peculiar, foraged ingredients landing in your glass or on your plate, here are nasturtium greens.

“The Big Night”

Yes, as in the better known flowers, nasturtium is the base of this sensational cocktail being served at San Francisco’s new, riveting neighborhood restaurant, Rich Table. Designed by the restaurant’s beverage director Maz Naba, the former wine director at arguably the city’s premier destination restaurant Coi, the drink promises a special evening ahead, if for any other reason than this cocktail’s enchanting notes and color, especially with the sardine laced potato chips you should be nibbling on with it.

The smoky, arguably most relentless in your face spirit used in the cocktail world, Mezcal is almost always the only note you taste in a Mezcal based cocktail. I finally just figured out how to mellow the agave based cousin of Tequila in a version of a Pisco Sour and another in a version of a Negroni. Neither competes with “The Big Night.”

Served up in a chilled coup, the lush green hue from the nasturtium greens is what you first notice,  as green as the Ring of Kerry or the meadows of the Presidio, where the greens likely were foraged by Naba.

The nasturtium greens are blended with water and simple syrup in a 1 to 2 to 4 by weight ratio. Then the mixture is combined with a ginger syrup and lemon juice, for a perfect herbal, spicy, and acidic trio to tame the Del Maguey “Vida” Mezcal’s barbeque notes.

What a triumph, all crowned by the cherry on top; a nasturtium flower of course. Whatever may constitute a big night, the night ahead will be a glorious one after starting with this dazzling drink.

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