Rhubarb and artichokes and ramps, oh my! Yes, it's officially Spring, and the culinary world is bursting with exuberance over the season’s ingredients. I, too, look forward to perusing the stalls at the farmer's market tomorrow for produce other than tubers and root vegetables. Still, I'm going to be a bit of a Spring sourpuss here and reveal the primary reason I'm farmer's marketing tomorrow: Rick's Pick's okra pickle, aka Smokra.
Technically I could purchase Smokra online or at Whole Foods, but visiting the stand in Union Square saves time, money and is much more fun (especially if the cute n' friendly Rick's Picks pickle man is there to chat up about brines and recipes). Yes, this season is about welcoming in fresh ingredients. But while preparing those fresh ingredients its nice to have a fabulous cocktail, which is where Smokra comes in. My roommate and I discovered that the smoked, paprika-infused pickling juice that accompanies the okra makes a zesty, bloody mary-esque martini. As a #1 fan of the Sunday brunch bloody, it was wonderful to discover a more evening friendly alternative: the same kick of spice and vodka, without the heavy tomato juice element more suited for an afternoon meal. Garnished with a spear of pickled okra, the cocktail is a perfect fusion between the dirty and the bloody – a delightfully murderous combination.
9 oz vodka, preferably something classy, like Kettle One
3 oz smokra juice from Rick's Picks Smokra (or more to taste, depending on spice tolerance)
2 okra spears for garnish
- Shake vodka and smokra juice together in a shaker with ice, and strain into two martini glasses
- Garnish with okra and serve