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Shawn travels to Atlanta and Charleston to visit with local mixologist who are creating stunning cocktails with farm-fresh local ingredients.

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Daily food & travel inspiration in your inbox

Transcript

- I'm Shawn Thomas, and this is Local Flight, a show where I travel around to some of the best bars in the country to meet amazing mixologists and challenge them to create innovative cocktails using unique local ingredients. I'm in Atlanta, and it's summer here in the South, making it a perfect time to see what Georgia has to offer. Today, I'm headed to The Pinewood to meet Julian Goglia, a pharmacist turned mixologist who still has the cure for what ails ya. - How you doing? - Happy to be here. Nice to meet you. - Good to finally meet you, man. - Ah, so this is it, this is The Pinewood. Talk to me about your cocktail program. - We pretty much try to do everything from scratch using things from around here. I went to school for pre-pharm. I worked in compounding pharmacies for six years. And it was one of those things where I kinda got nerdy about the idea of pharmacy around the Prohibition time kind of intertwining. During Prohibition, you could get whiskey prescribed to you. It's kinda fun to see how they overlap. With the combination of those two things, it was like what the heck am I doing? I could be doing the same thing but in a more fun situation. - Do you design most of the cocktails on the menu? - Yeah. - Can I try one of your specialty drinks? - Absolutely. The most popular drink that I've got on there is something I made called The Goonies Never Say Die. - That is a fantastic name. - Hey-oh. - And a fantastic movie. - It's kind of like a Tiki bourbon type drink that's perfect for the summer. It's a little bit of fresh lime juice. A little bit of ginger syrup that we make. The ginger syrup is literally fresh ginger juice and sugar, so it's super spicy. And then one of my favorites, Falernum rum liqueur. And most importantly, a lot of whiskey. But usually give that a little shake up. I think everybody's favorite part is throwing the ginger on top 'cause everybody loves having something to eat in their cocktail. - [Shawn] What was that? - That's grains of paradise. It's a seed in the ginger family, so it's pretty aromatic. I know the French use it a lot in things like vermouths and aromatized wine. - Goonies Never Say Die. - Hey-oh. - Mm, this is super good. It's kind of a riff on a Moscow Mule, so you get all that heat from the ginger. The whiskey is nice and sweet and dry. - And being that it's kind of like a whiskey fun drink, it's got the Tiki pirate-type thing going on with it as well. It was just a fun name. - And you love the story. Do you find yourself drawing from stories like that? Like just stories that you like when you're naming your cocktails? - It's generally something to do with pop culture and music, things I'm into, or just something that's fun. - So one of the things that I love doing while I'm traveling around to these different cities is trying to find the ingredient that captures where I am, the essence of the city that I'm in, and try to make a delicious cocktail with it. So, the first thing that popped in my mind when it comes to Atlanta and Georgia is peaches. Is there any sort of place that you think has the best peaches? - There's literally one place to get peaches in Georgia. And it's from Pearson Farms. They're phenomenal. You can only get them for a couple weeks out of the year, but they, hands-down, are the best peaches in the world. - All right, well, if you are available, I say you come with me to this orchard and find some peaches for you to make a killer cocktail with. - Heck yeah. - All right. Well, let's get outta here there then. - Woo! - [Shawn] About 100 miles south of Atlanta, the Pearson family has been growing peaches for more than 120 years. Five generations later, current owner Al Pearson is still growing the juicy, sweet Georgia peach, or queen of fruits, as the locals like to call them. - This is the middle of peach season. It's good and hot and humid, and peaches like it. - Tell me a little about Pearson Farm. How long have you guys been here? - My great-grandfather came here and started farming around 1885, something like that. - [Shawn] Wow. - I'm the fourth generation. My son's the fifth. And hopefully, there'll be something coming behind him. - [Shawn] Wow, that's great. So it's been running in the family for a long time. - Yeah, long time. - Now, what do you look for as far as when a peach is ripe and how do you know when it's time to go? - Well, we typically look for a yellow background color. The variety changes the amount of red color that's on a peach. Sometimes, you have a peach that's red all over, and it might not be mature. But if you can find a background that's creamy, then that's the right peach to pick. - [Shawn] Does that come from the sun? - The sun helps them color, and that's the one thing we do. We prune out some limbs during the summertime to increase the sunlight, and it lets the trees dry out quicker after a rain. There's a lot of decisions to be made with picking peaches, all the way through the the packing house. The graders, they grade out good ones and bad ones, so we're making a lot of decisions. - Yeah? - That one. You feel it? - Yeah, sure. Has a little bit of give to it. - Do you wanna pick it? Julian, you pick it. - Go ahead. - Gotta say, I might want this one. - Good work. - Yeah. - You're a natural. Yeah. - That is awesome. - Is it? - It's warm. You never get peaches warm like that. - Mm. - I don't know if you left me room. - That's a good peach, I'm sorry. - That's just right. - Your wheels already spinning as far as cocktails go, or how do you think we incorporate some of these delicious Georgia peaches into a drink? - I might have to eat a couple more, but I'm pretty sure I'm onto something. - All right, so then the search continues. - [Julian] So I'm curious, where do they go from here? - Well, we take these peaches from the orchard to the packing shed and we'll separate them there, somewhat according to ripeness. These peaches are picked today and they might be in your store tomorrow morning. It's a good piece of fruit when you get it. You don't have to wait on it. And so that really makes a difference. It's kinda like wine, I think. That it does make a difference the soil that something is grown in. And this is good, heavy dirt, and trees like it. Peaches like it. - Yeah. You can't top a Georgia peach. - I don't think so. - Well, I say we get these ripe peaches back to the bar. - [Al] Sounds good to me. - All righty. - Woo. - Let's get outta here. You can taste why Pearson peaches are Atlanta's favorite. I can't think of a better summer ingredient. Fortunately, Al sent us back with enough to make cocktails for days. All right. So, Al was very generous with his peaches. Do you think we have enough to make a drink? - [Julian] I think at least two or three drinks. - Okay good. - It'll be super like, light and refreshing. Something kinda like a peach cup. I'm gonna go ahead and muddle a little bit of the peach in there. We'll say ginger. - Okay. - Something to balance it out, a little lemon. Then an ounce of Grey Goose. Just got Breckenridge. - Breckenridge? - [Julian] Bitter ___. I'll just a half ounce and see how that works outta that guy. Curacao, usually goes in a cup. - Try curacao. - [Julian] So it should come out decently spicy, but not super. - Mmhmm. - Lovely for summer. Top it with a little soda and a chunk of peach. - Peach garnish. - Again, if it's not obvious, putting a little food with somebody's cocktail definitely is not the worst idea. - [Shawn] Nope, especially not a delicious peach. - [Julian] Hey-oh. And that guy. - Mint. Awesome. - Try this guy out. - Okey-dokey. Thank you very much. Cheers to you. - Yeah. - And to Mr. Pearson. Mm, yup. That quarter peach was just enough sweet. The peach actually masks the ginger. I don't get as much spice as I did in the first cocktail you made me earlier. Those bitters, I get a little vanilla, little cinnamon, a little bit of black licorice. Definitely helps with the aromatics. And the Grey Goose is delightful. - [Julian] Should be definitely more on the lighter, refreshing side. - It is for sure a light, refreshing cocktail. I can just see like rocking chair on a porch on a hot summer day. - And about three of those? - Yeah, throwing a couple of these back. Julian, this is a delicious cocktail. It needs a name. - We'll call it Mrs. Worley after True Romance. The dad goes, "She does, she tastes like peaches." That's what we got. - That's a great movie and a great reference, so Mrs. Worley. - Hey-oh. - Cheers. Julian, it's been a pleasure, man. I'm so happy to have you come down to the farm with me, and this is a great cocktail. You've certainly done Pearson's peaches a justice, so. - Cool. - Thanks very much. - Thanks for stopping in and seeing us. - Take it easy. - Grazi. - Charleston is one of the most beautifully preserved cities in the South and one of the most talked about food destinations in the country. Everywhere you look in this town, it's dripping with history and flavor. This mix finds its way into the inventions of chef Jeremiah Schenzel, who has recently brought his expertise from award-winning kitchens to The Cocktail Club bar. How long have you guys been here? - We've been here just about four years. But the building itself has been here much longer than that. Originally built in the 1800s. The idea is more of a lounge environment, you know, with a focus on craft cocktails. We want everyone to come in, hang out, have a great time. Not feel like you're at, necessarily, a traditional-style bar. - Sure, tell me a little bit about your menu. - We're well known for a few of our more savory cocktails. Pulling ingredients from a kitchen environment rather than necessarily just behind the bar. And we make pretty much everything we do in-house. - Can I try one of those cocktails? - Yeah, of course. We're gonna do the Sumter Sipper. Named after Fort Sumter here in Charleston. We're gonna actually start with just two dashes of Angostura bitters. Then we're gonna add in a quarter ounce of Cheerwine grenadine, which is a Southern soda. Similar flavor profiles to Dr. Pepper, but a little more cherry notes in there as well. Then we're gonna add a half an ounce of fresh pineapple juice. And then we're gonna add in an ounce and a quarter of a yuzu lime cordial. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. And then we're gonna use rhum agricole, which is a rum made from pure sugarcane. It's got some really cool grass notes to it. It's gonna add a lotta depth to this cocktail, but still be familiar. And we're also gonna just rinse our glass today with a little pastis, which will help bring out some of the cherry flavors in that grenadine. - And that's an anisette, right? - Exactly, yeah. - Those black licorice notes as well. - And we're gonna give this a shake. Now we're just gonna give this a double strain. And to finish it off, we're just gonna put a little orange peel in there, just get a little bit of that oil going around. - Cheers, the Sumter Sipper. Try saying that one four times fast. Very balanced, very, very balanced. - [Jeremiah] Thank you. - Rhum agricole is my favorite category of rums. And your use of the anisette just as a highlight, it definitely brings out the cherry and the vanilla and doesn't overpower with the black licorice, so job well done, sir. - Thank you. - Well, I'm new to Charleston. I've never been here before. I was looking forward to coming here, but, and I knew a little bit about the history, but as far as like, just the culinary traditions here, the culture here, I know nothing about this place. So I was hoping maybe you could take me around and we could find an ingredient that we could actually incorporate into a drink. - We really gotta focus on food if we're talking about Charleston 'cause spirits are relatively new in terms of cocktails. - Okay. - Here in the area. - The cocktail movement is new here? - It's very, very new, yeah. So up until eight years ago, actually, you could only drink out of mini bottles here. - Really? - So, having craft cocktails was unheard of before then. - Gotcha. - And I think the Lowcountry is the perfect convergence of land and sea and food and culture, and I've got a place that'll represent that really, really well for us. - Great, well, what do you say we get going and see what we can find? Find a great ingredient. - Let's get outta here. - Cool, let's do it. - Cheers. - [Shawn] Hominy Grill is one of the most celebrated restaurants in the South. Inside the classic Charleston house turned eatery, James Beard award-winning chef-slash-owner, Robert Stehling, highlights the Lowcountry's unique cultural history and flavors in his fresh, unfussy cooking. - I decided to bring us here because it's definitely the place that kinda put Charleston Lowcountry food on the map. - Cool. - [Jeremiah] And really no one does Lowcountry fare better than these guys right here. - That's great. - Locals, tourists, everyone. - [Shawn] That's great, everyone's happy here. - Yeah. - Nice. - [Jeremiah] Any day of the week, there's a line out the door for sure. - [Shawn] Very cool, very cool. - [Jeremiah] I definitely think we gotta do shrimp and grits. - Shrimp and grits. - [Jeremiah] For sure. And if we're talking Southern cuisine, fried green tomatoes. Stewed okra, Lima beans. I see a lot of things we could definitely use here in terms of cocktails. - Shall we dig in? - Yeah, let's dig in. - I don't even know what to eat first. I guess, I'm gonna go with the shrimp and grits first. - [Jeremiah] Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for some Southerners. They'll eat it any time of the day. - [Shawn] Cured bacon on there. - Oh yeah, perfect. - Little bit of mushroom. - [Jeremiah] And then the super fresh shrimp. I'm gonna go for the Lima beans. - All right, I'm gonna do the cucumbers. How're the Lima beans? - Really good. We should definitely start getting into these tomatoes while they're still hot, too. - Great idea. I'll cut one of these for us. Yes, sir, oh wow. They're meaty. - Oh yeah. - Definitely some meaty tomatoes. Mm. - Right? - Mmhmm. Great texture, good water content. And I get that acidity, too, yeah. That's really nice. - But you'll find like, taste like, the tartness and a little bit of sweetness. - Definitely, nice and firm. - I really like the way the dill in the sauce compliments the green tomato as well. - Mm, that is some good Southern food. So, there's definitely some similarities between the dishes. The spices used, the incorporation of the salt from the ham and the way they prepare it. A lot of that savory. Is there an ingredient that jumps out a little bit more as far as one that you wanna use in a cocktail? - What interests me the most is actually the fried green tomato, and the tomato itself. That tartness combated with that sweetness, the uniqueness, and its ability to really be a Charleston staple ingredient. - Green tomatoes it is, then. - There we go, cheers. - [Shawn] Just 30 minutes out of the city, heading to Bugby Plantation on Johns Island feels like stepping back in time. Here, farmer Adair McKoy grows corn and strawberries amongst a host of other seasonal crops including the green tomatoes we're looking for. - [Adair] Welcome to Bugby Plantation Farm. - Nice piece of land you've got here. We're on the hunt for some green tomatoes today. - Well, you're in the right place 'cause there's a lot of them out there. This ground has been farmed continuously here at Bugby for 200-plus years. It started off probably doing only about four, five acres, and now we're up to about 300. So you can see a whole range of different levels of maturity right here. - [Shawn] Yeah, I say we start with the most ripe and go from there. - Let's try it. - Man, that is just-- - [Adair] That's very, very juicy. - Mm, that's silly. You know, growing up I used to hate tomatoes. It was like the one food I didn't like. Until I had a fresh tomato off the vine, and it was a complete game changer. - It is. Especially when that tomato's been sitting in the sunshine all day and it's good and warm. That's my favorite. I don't even have to put salt on it. This would be a breaker right here. This is just starting to turn color after mature green. What we'll see is on the inside-- - [Shawn] A little redness in there, those pink-- - [Adair] Still a little red in there, that's right. Seed cavity's are fully gelled. None of the seeds were cut. This may be what you're looking for. - Mm, this one's actually phenomenal because you get more of what that red one tasted like in the middle, and some of that more crisp acidity on the outside, so it's kinda like right in that in-between. - [Adair] Right, right. - That's awesome. Definitely think this is something we can use in a cocktail. - You'll notice on the blossom end of that tomato, there'll be a little star starting to form. And that telltale star is what denotes it as a breaker. It's getting ready to change color, becoming more red. - Well, let's pick some breakers and get to know the farm a little bit more. That's looking pretty good. I think that star is what we're going for there. Look for those breakers. - So Adair, I notice there's a really unique smell on my fingers after this. - It's almost like spearmint, but a little bit more resin, like a little bit more resinous. - Yeah, what you're smelling is the oil that's in the leaves of the plant. And that oil will build up on your hands. And a lot of the guys in our crew, what they'll do to clean that off is to use an actual green tomato itself. You'll pick one that's really green up in the top of the bush, and you can take it, and rip it open, and rub your hands on it. Rub it all over. - Look at that. - I think we're gonna need some more green tomatoes. - Yeah, we're gonna have to-- - And then it's clean. - I mean, that looks like so much fun that I have to do it. Here goes. Yeah, there we go. - [Adair] Put your talons in it. - Better? - Oh yeah. - That's a day on the farm right there. - [Adair] That's right. - Tomato to tomato. That's the handshake. - Shawn, thank you. - Yeah, thanks for having us. - Thank you so much. - Jeremiah, thank you. - You think we have enough-- - Good to meet you. - Tomatoes here? - I think we're good, yeah. - Cool, well, let's head back then. - All right. - Thanks for showing us this beautiful land. - You're welcome. - [Shawn] With enough tomatoes to feed an army, Jeremiah and I head back to the bar to see if we can pay tribute to this Lowcountry staple in a cocktail. - [Jeremiah] I think we got enough tomatoes. - You think so? - I think so. - [Shawn] I mean, what's the best way to incorporate these tomatoes? - Well, I've definitely got some ideas. I don't wanna muddle them. And I don't think I wanna cook these things. I think I wanna start off by juicing them. Let's get that really fresh green tomato flavor into this cocktail. - Cool, all right. There it is. - Got it. - Green tomato juice. - There we go. - Can I try a little bit of that? - Of course. - Thank you. - Yeah. - Wow, I mean, it's like tart. It's almost like lime juice it's so tart. - Right, you get that same approach. But you get that little crispness like an apple too, at the same time, so. - Mmhmm, mmhmm. - You know what I think would totally go well with this? - What? - Some of the fresh herbs from our herb garden. Well, let's start with some of this awesome dill. We go with two fronds. This will be a great addition to this. Sticking with that savory element, let's go with some celery bitters. Two dashes of that. - [Shawn] I can already smell it from there. - And then we're gonna put in some habanero shrub. Little bit of heat, but nothing too crazy. I've got some really nice meszal here. We're just gonna use a bar spoon of this. So you'll get it, but you won't be overpowered by it by any means. And then we're gonna use an ounce and a half of the green tomato. A little local-made tonic. For a spirit, to bring all this together, Grey Goose right here. - [Shawn] Let all those flavor nuances-- - Exactly. - Play over that. - [Jeremiah] We're gonna use an ounce and a half of that. And get it all shaken up. - [Shawn] Great. - You wanna shake this up? - Yeah, I can shake it. - Thank you, sir. It's been a little while. - There we go. - There you are. - All right. We're gonna serve this one, help combat some of that South Carolina heat, just on a nice big rock. - [Shawn] Great. - Finish with another dill frond. Cheers. - Cheers, thank you. I love the smell of dill. It's like vinegar, savory, herbaceous right off the bat. Good call with the habanero. - Thank you. - Yeah, it really compliments the green tomato nicely. They're both very sharp flavors. Yeah, you gotta try this. And it's just like the first cocktail you made me, it's dry. It's very, very nice balanced acidity. So with a cocktail like that, it's not gonna be too cloying on the palate, too sweet, you know? - Definitely. - It's solid. It's definitely solid. Well, last order of business, my friend. It's an original cocktail and it needs an original name. - Why don't we just keep it simple? Green in the Glass. - Green in the Glass. - Yeah. - Green in the Glass. Delicious, man. - Thank you. - I hope you had as much fun as I did. - I did, it was great. - Thanks for showing me the farm, showing me Charleston. I appreciate it, so. - Of course. I'm glad you like it. - Yeah, cheers, man. - Cheers. - Thank you very much.