Food LA LA founder Lindsay Kinder proposes the perfect summer sip—don’t forget the bespoke ice.
Food LA LA founder Lindsay Kinder
Warm weather is an enticement to commit to all kinds of things, of course, but Lindsay Kinder, creator of San Francisco-based Food LA LA (food-la-la.com), thinks the quintessential sip should be at the top of everyone’s list. The food pro, whose culinary background includes tutelage under Susan Herrmann Loomis and master chefs at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, created her company to offer individuals and corporate groups the opportunity to learn the high art of creating unforgettable dishes and cocktails.
This summer, Food LA LA hosts virtual cocktail hours and classes, which include a live class and kit with everything tipplers need to make their own inspired summer sips. Here, Kinder reveals the holy grail of making warm-weather sips that will leave guests both refreshed and wanting more.
What are essential elements of making great summer drinks? The first is garnish. You eat and drink first with your eyes, so a cocktail has to be beautiful—this summer, I’m loving rosettes made of lemon peel. The second elements are infused simple syrups; it’s a really fun way to layer in a flavor.
Glassware also is such a sweet part of the experience. I’m a big collector of retro gold-rimmed coupes, heavy crystal rocks glasses and delicate, thin wine glasses. Finally, you need great ice. Ditch the freezer ice, and make your own filtered-water ice. A large cube for margaritas, or perfectly crushed ice for the Bramble—or an ice sphere for an Old-Fashioned.
Any tips for keeping drinks light and refreshing? Use sparkling water. I’ll even do a wine spritzer with a white wine and sparkling water to make the experience last longer. Fresh herbs, basil, mint and rosemary also help. Rub and release the oil for the infusion and squeeze your own fresh-off-the-vine citrus. A cocktail is only as good as its ingredients, and a fresh-squeezed lemon is much better than a bottled lemon juice. Having to squeeze your own fresh citrus is Mother Nature’s seatbelt—we should only drink as many cocktails as we can hand-squeeze ourselves.
Summer daytime cocktails versus nighttime cocktails—your advice? For daytime, light and refreshing with a simple alcohol content, like a sip with sparkling water and a fresh-picked orange peel to get to nighttime. Once it’s sundown, a perfect cocktail is the Bee’s Knees—gin, lemon, honey and simple syrup in a beautiful coupe glass.
You’ve said ice is to the bartender what salt is to the chef. How do the best bartenders employ ice effectively? As I mentioned, freezer ice is the fastest way to ruin a beautiful cocktail. The shape, texture and smell of ice is everything when crafting a delightful summer drink. When making my own, I’ll craft a large cube, crushed or in an ice sphere. Employ a silicone mold for large cubes or spheres, or, to make your own crushed ice, place filtered ice in small cubes in the blender or food processor.
Do you have a favorite summer drink that incorporates wine? Prosecco and sparkling water. If I’m having one during the day, I’ll drink half and refresh the glass—topped off with sparkling water and a new garnish.
The Bramble is a refreshing summer sip, with enough zest to make a chic addition to any summer soiree.
One of Food LA LA founder Lindsay Kinder’s favorite California summer sips is the Bramble. She calls it the art of perfect dilution. The drink elements to impress guests include:
INGREDIENTS (one cocktail)
¼ cup of sugar
3-4 sage leaves
1 oz. lemon juice
2 oz. gin (we love Junipero)
2 ml of pomegranate concentrate Lots of ice
Garnish and tools: Lemon peel, dried rosebud petals, metal pick, short straw
1. Sage simple syrup: In a small saucepan (over medium-low heat) combine sugar with ¼ cup water. Rub sage to release oils, then add to pot and whisk until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
2. With a vegetable peeler, peel a long lemon peel, then roll into a rosette and spear with metal pick. Set aside.
3. In a cocktail shaker, combine lemon juice, ¾ oz. sage-infused simple syrup and 2 oz. gin, then fill with ice and shake. Strain (neat) into a rocks glass. Add straw.
4. Fill glass to top with crushed ice (use a blender or food processor).
5. Pour pomegranate concentrate on top and garnish with rosebuds and lemon rosette.
Photography by: COURTESY OF FOOD LA LA