The Kitchen Cocktail

Rye bar manager Van Zarr
Rye bar manager Van Zarr

Two recipes for the price of one from Rye’s bar manager

The inspiration for this cocktail was a solution to pairing wine with a chilled soup—not an easy task,” says Van Zarr, bar manager at Rye in Mission Farms. “We decided serving a small shot of chilled vodka was the best companion to the gazpacho.” Obviously, one thing led to another and this delightfully refreshing cocktail was born.

Most of the preparation for this cocktail is done in the kitchen, not at the bar. Keep in mind: You’re getting two really wonderful recipes for the price (and work) of one.

The gazpacho base yields about two quarts of the most refreshing summer liquid you can imagine, which should supply enough for a generous round or two of cocktails for the gang—and maybe a little chilled summer soup for the chef.


SPT_ZarrVan_23_AL To make the gazpacho base:

4 sweet bell peppers (Van uses red, but any combination should work)

1 whole red onion

2 peeled cucumbers

6 garlic cloves, peeled

6 large heirloom tomatoes

Juice of one whole lemon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Roughly chop the vegetables. Puree the vegetables and remaining ingredients in either a food processor, large blender (maybe in batches), or with an emersion blender until smooth. Line an appropriately sized bowl or other container with four layers of cheese cloth. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together and suspend the puree over a bowl in the refrigerator to strain and capture the liquid. Feed the leftover vegetable fiber to the goat.

To make the cocktail: 

Per drink, measure one ounce of vodka or gin (Van suggests Titos or Hendricks) and two ounces of the gazpacho base into an ice-filled shaker. Shake and serve up or strain into a martini glass. At Rye, the drink is garnished with a house made vacuum-pickled heirloom tomato, but Van suggests an Old South Tomolive (a pickled green tomato available in the pickle section of most grocery stores) as a suitable alternative.

 To use as a soup: 

Place a few bites of colorful heirloom tomatoes, peppers and cucumber in the bottom of a wide, shallow bowl. Pour some of the gazpacho base over the vegetables. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the soup, garnish with fresh herbs and serve.