The Taste of Aglanta is only a few days away, and we're so excited to reveal one of our partnerships between urban forager and fruit tree planter Robby Astrove and all-star mixologist Tiffanie Barriere--aka The Drinking Coach.
Robby will be scouring the city of Atlanta for edible flowers and herbs for Tiffanie to use in her incredible cocktails. We spoke with Robby and asked him why he's so excited about the Taste of Aglanta, and working with Tiffanie.
Robby, you're a master of finding edible plants and trees around ATL. What do you have in store for the Taste of Aglanta?
I'll be busy creating a space to celebrate all things craft cocktails, local produce, and native plants appropriate for mixology. We will feature lesser known culinary herbs like hyssop, the native tree sumac, and perhaps lavender too.
We'll have a bar, lots of flowers and plants, and an educational table about the plants featured in the drinks. Think boozy and educational!
This isn't your first rodeo in supplying ingredients for some incredible cocktails. What can you tell us about cocktail gardens?
Cocktail gardens are simply a collection of fruit trees, wild flowers, herbs, and other edible plants that serve an ecological function and benefit to nature, provide aesthetics and beauty to the garden, and of-course hold great application in mixology.
I create these for folks who like to booze it up with the butterflies and who desire fresh local ingredients. This definitely includes things like basil and rosemary but I like to use and feature native plants as much as possible like sumac, hyssop, bee balm, and others like serviceberry, muscidines, black walnut, sassafras, prickly pear cactus fruit, and elderberry. A garden like this provides fruit, leaves, roots, and flower goodies from May-December.
Tiffanie Barriere is a rockstar mixologist. Why are you excited to work with her?
There's much to love. When you meet Tiffanie you are immediately swept away by her beautiful and warm smile, can-do attitude, and sincere sweetness. I'm honored to work with her. She's classy, sassy, and is a true professional who honors the craft of mixology and hospitality. Tiffanie is incredibly respected and well educated in her field and simply knows her stuff!
We both nerd out on this stuff and when I learned she loves Amy Stewart's Drunken Botanist book as much as I do, that really set it off for us. Turns out that book was a game changer for her and I.
Finally, and critical to this event, she's an advocate and champion for local, seasonal produce. She understands quality drinks contain unique, fresh, beautiful and local ingredients. And she's very grateful for it. Her gratitude for foraged produce inspires me to find new things or try something new. Industry leaders like her push me to learn and explore more. I get the feels when I see Tiffanie freak out (in a good way!) and watch her eyes roll back in ecstasy as she interacts with fresh ingredients. Her happiness and joy creates joy and happiness for me. This happened when I introduced her to sumac. She went crazy for the zingy flavor!
I know the Taste of Aglanta inspires the best in her as these ingredients speak to her heart. Don't you want to have drinks from a woman who will be on cloud 9 and full of joy? Hands, head, and heart will be fully engaged here. You'll be able to taste the love for sure!