Alice Waters’ farm-to-table revolution put a laser focus on the freshness and quality of ingredients chefs used in the kitchen. These days a similar shake-up is going on behind the bar.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star
Take chef Renee Kelly’s Harvest, one of the newest farm-to-table restaurants to open in Johnson County. Kelly has tasked bartender Loren Murrell with creating a locavore bar.
In some ways the task is both easier and harder than Murrell imagined. Finding local brews was easy: Boulevard (Kansas City), Tall Grass (Manhattan, Kan.), Free State (Lawrence), Mother’s Lil Helper (Springfield, Mo.) and even Schlafly (St. Louis) fill the glass nicely. Local wines, including Somerset Ridge (Louisburg, Kan.), and Holy Field (Basehor, Kan.) also are coming on.
But when it comes to artisanal spirits, there are fewer options. Murrell (and plenty of other bartenders across the metro) are eagerly awaiting the first releases from Dark Horse Distillery in Lenexa later this year. In the meantime, Murrell is busy mixing up fresh juices, shrubs, infusions made from locally grown lavender, basil and lemon verbena and house-made bitters, tonic and ginger beer, the new basics that will give his list of specialty and classic cocktails a sense of place.