Farmer’s Market Old Fashioned
from Bareburger Santa Monica

For some folks, a stiff drink is an essential survival tool for the holiday season and Chris Crouch, General Manager of Bareburger Santa Monica suggests his Farmer’s Market Old Fashioned for the job.

“This drink is a sipper,” he said. “Almost entirely crafted from alcoholic liquids, it’s not a drink for slamming and moving on.

The muddled apple gives the drink the slightest texture. The rosemary infused bourbon suggesting a warming oven on Thanksgiving Day.

And a hint of citrus. It is, after all, Southern California.”

Crouch is about to weather his first winter in the warmth of California and he said adapting to the local lack of seasons might be challenging given his decades of North East exposure.

“This will be my first and I won’t lie, I’m a little nervous,” he said. “I’ve set my clock to the changing leaves of New York for two decades. Not sure what to do about that now.

I may have to set reminders in my calendar so I don’t forget to shop for gifts.”

However, he said there are ways to bring those hits of autumn to a beachfront community including the kinds of foods we choose and his cocktail helps bring on the holiday mindset
“I really just thought of two simple questions,” said Crouch. “What do I like to drink and what are my favorite flavors related to the fall? I’m a bourbon man for sure. And the fall is rosemary roasted turkey and apple picking.”

For Crouch, utilizing seasonal produce isn’t about marketing campaigns but rather about meeting the deep-seated desires within everyone for the kind of flavors and nutrients that present themselves during limited periods of time.

“We don’t suddenly put pumpkin in everything because Starbucks says to. I believe we crave those things naturally,” he said.

“It is only right that our fall plates are full of butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, apples, cabbage, black berries and yes, pumpkins. These hearty foods grow as if to shore us up for the coming winter. Well, maybe not in Southern California.”

He said making a drink to be savored helps remind him to slow down and be present during the festivities that for him often include home, family, constant cooking, board games, laughter and friends.

“I’ve spent the last 20 years living in New York City,” said Crouch. “And over all those years, every Thanksgiving that I was in town, I hosted a dinner for friends at our apartment. Some years as few as 10 guests, a few years over 40 people coming and going all night.

It is my favorite day and deserves the time. A whole day set aside for no purpose but to express gratitude.”

When he is with his family, he said the group takes an aggressive approach to the holiday cooking that included all the standards of big Texas feast like roasted turkey, stuffing, smoked ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, roasted corn pasta and mashed potatoes.

“It is a serious spread,” he said. “Although, I’d say my Mom does most of the cooking.

Over the years, others have contributed a plate or two or maybe a dessert. (I’m talking to you Aunt Sue, mmmm that chocolate cake!).

But the cooking starts two days before the holiday and is still being completed 10 minutes before the blessing with much panic and sweating. But it’s always perfect.”

Whether you sip your drinks in anticipation of the whirlwind season to come or after gorging on a fine meal, Crouch said the point of the season remains the same.

“I love that for whatever reason you may have, we all gather together at this time of year. We go out more,” said Crouch. “Share more time with friends. Break bread and toast together more.

And it changes us. Makes us better.”
Chris Crouch is the General Manager of Bareburger Santa Monica, 2732 Main St., (310) 392-2122.

2oz Hard Cider
1.5oz rosemary infused bourbon
.25oz Agave
.25oz fresh Lemon Juice
Half a handful cubed fresh apple (farmer’s market apples are always freshest)
One Apple wheel slice treated with citrus (to prevent browning)
Sprig of farmer’s market rosemary.
Angostura Bitters (or any aromatic bitter of your choosing)

Place all ingredients in a mixing tin and gently muddle the apples.
Fill with ice and shake vigorously.
Double train over fresh ice (one large cube preferred)
Add two dashes Angostura
Garnish with rosemary sprig and apple wheel.

I suggest drinking with garnish on glass.

To infuse the bourbon, simply bruise three or four sprigs rosemary and place in the bourbon bottle along with the rind of a lemon. If there isn’t time, you can simply add a single sprig of rosemary to then tin and shake into the cocktail. You will however get more of the richness of the rosemary into the whiskey if you give it the time to sit.