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Fresh Origins – Above the rim

Fresh_Origins_MicroGreens.jpg

No better way to crown a cocktail.

What makes them different:

The whole point in writing this is to tell you this isn’t the flavored sugar you find in those round tins in the store.  There are no funky neon colors or bizarre berry-cosmo-rita-tini-jito flavors made from a chemistry set.    Fresh Origins Mini Flower/Herb Crystals are made only from the pure cane sugar and the herb or flower hand-harvested in the greenhouses of Fresh Origins.  No polysorbate-80, no dextro-hydro-somethingoranother, no red dye #5, just all natural ingredients.

How to use:

Used as an ingredient or as a garnish …mainly rimming a cocktail glass for color and flavor.  I had been doing some reading on the subject and found it has been done as early as the 1930’s (The Sidecar for all you cocktail historians out there)  Sugar rimming a glass is not some recent flight of fancy concocted by the same bartenders whom have given us the Appletini and other technicolor swill…I know you were thinking it.  To rim the glass just rub some citrus on the rim then dab the glass on a plate with the Mini Herb/Flower Crytals.  They do a pretty good job sticking

I actually wanted to put the product to use so I made several cocktails using the crystals as an ingrediant and/or garnish.  See below…

Taste Test – Mini Herb Crystals

Basil:

Mini Herb Crystals Basil

Basil Cucumber Gimlet

I muddled several basil leaves, a couple cucumber slices, half a lime, a pinch of Basil Mini Herb Crystals, and a couple ounces of vodka in a (Boston) mixing glass.  I added the crystals not so much for color but as something that will help open up the basil leaves when muddling… was just trying it out, not sure if it helped or not.   After muddling, I added some ice and shook until cold.  Strained the gimlet into a cocktail glass rimmed with Basil Mini Herb Crystals and garnished with a basil leaf and cucumber slice.  It’s actually a very light drink and the Basil Herb Crystals reinforce the flavor without overpowering it.

 

Mint:

Mini Herb Crystals Mint

Mint Vodka Lemonade

Super simple to make.  In a blender I threw a few mint leaves (be sure to slap it first to open it up), juice from a lemon and a lime, a squirt of simple syrup (or just use sugar), a pinch of Mint Herb Crystals (for additional flavor), and shot of vodka.  The pour into a glass with ice, rimmed with Mint Herb Crystals.  I’ll be making these this summer for sure however next time I may forgo the mint leaves and just use the Mint Herb Crystals since the finely diced mint leaves will ruin your smile.

 

Cilantro:

Mini Herb Crystals Cilantro

Chili-Cilantro Margarita

 

This one was kinda tricky since I wouldn’t think of cilantro as a cocktail ingredient.  I found a recipe online for a serrano-cilantro margarita and decided to give it a try.  It’s essentially a frozen margarita (tequila, triple sec or cointreau if you’re feeling fancy, lime, and a squirt of simple syrup) with a few sprigs of cilantro and a bit of hot pepper for zing.  Not something I’d usually order.  Again, not a big fan of cilantro in my beverage but seeing how many cilantro cocktails there are out there, I’m sure some folks would really enjoy this.

Original recipe here

Taste – Mini Flower Crystals

Hibiscus:

Mint Hibiscus Raspberry Margarita

Mint Hibiscus Raspberry Margarita

 

I haven’t used hibiscus in anything before and found this to be a very interesting flower in terms of flavor and preparation.

I took a small saucepan with a couple cups of water and added small handful of hibiscus leaves ( a little goes a VERY long  way) , a few raspberries, a couple mint sprigs, and some sugar.  Again, remember to give the mint leaves a smart smack to release some of the oils.  Also I smashed the raspberries in the pan to release some of the juice.  As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and strain into a container to put in the refrigerator to cool down.

In a shaker with ice I added a a shot (1 oz. if you want to be precise) of tequila, half a shot of Grand Marnier (though you can substitute Cointreau or Triple Sec if you don’t have it), a couple ounces of our now cooled mint-hibiscus tea and a squeeze of lime.  Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.  Make sure you rim the glass with Hibiscus Flower Crystals.  If you still have room in the glass ( I know I did ) then fill the rest with the tea.  Garnish with some raspberries and mint leaves.

Hibiscus has a wonderful flavor.  If you’ve had it before you know.

Original recipe here

 

Rose:

Mini Flower Crystals Rose

Rose-scented strawberry cocktail

 

By far the most feminine drink I’ve ever tried.  It’s also exceptionally good and simple to make.  Started by making a strawberry puree in the blender with several large sweet strawberries, rose water ( found in most ethnic aisles in the supermarket, otherwise get it on amazon … seriously, they sell everything), and a spoonful of powdered sugar.   You could strain the puree through a fine sieve or cheese cloth to get rid of the strawberry seeds and pulp, not absolutely necessary but makes for a cleaner drink.  Pour the puree in a champagne flute rimmed with Rose Flower Crystals, about a quarter to a third of the way. Fill the rest of the flute with a sparkling wine.  This cocktail has a sweet and delicate flavor.  The flavor of rose petals from the Flower Crystals along with the perfumed scent from the rose water…just beautiful.

See original recipe here

 

Fennel:

 

Mini FLower Crystals Fennel

Pineapple and Fennel Martini

This one caught me by surprise.  Until recently, I never gave fennel a second thought as an ingredient in anything.  When I saw the bottle of Fennel Flower Crystals my first thought was Fennel? …Why?  Tasting it, it has a subtle anise flavor which makes perfect sense as a cocktail ingredient.

I ran across a recipe for a pineapple and fennel martini from Belvedere Vodka that intrigued me… pineapple and fennel.  It actually pairs nicely.

  • 2oz Belvedere Citrus
  • 4 or 5 Chunks fresh pineapple
  • 6 Fennel seeds – I also added a dash of Fennel Flower Crystals for taste
  • Dash simple syrup
  • Dash lemon juice

Throw everything in a shaker glass and muddle until the pineapple is pulped and the Fennel Flower Crystals are crushed.  Then shake with ice until cold and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with Fennel Flower Crystals.  I skipped the fennel seed garnish, just not a big fan of seeds floating in my drink,  but that’s just me.

 

The verdict

Disclosure and Standard policy for reviews.  We have received a sample for review (how else could we write about it)  HOWEVER, we would not write about it unless we liked it or thought maybe you, the reader, would… or unless it was so bad we thought we had a moral obligation to tell the world.

That being said, I really liked Fresh Origins Mini Flower/Herb Crystals a lot.  There is no arguing the flavors are spot-on.  There’s nothing artificial about it, the color and flavor comes from the flower or herb they are made from.  In fact to designate this a just a rimming sugar is to limit the imagination as to its practical applications.  Hibiscus Flower Crystals on ice cream is amazing by the way.

About the company

Fresh Origins Farm started almost twenty years ago in southern California growing micro greens and edible flowers for the restaurant industry.  Since then they have become a leader in this field and have become the top choice for chefs across America.

Their success comes from their total commitment to quality.  The care and attention to each seedling, plant and flower is something you won’t see in other larger commercial greenhouses that rely on automation for growing and harvesting.  Over 120,000 trays are hand watered and harvesting is done daily to ensure each individual plant and flower is picked only when it’s at its peak.

Where to buy

Sold through distributors, go to Fresh Origins for more information.  Of course there’s also amazon (well, the large and small crystals anyway)… seriously, is there anything they don’t sell?

 

 

 

Xan

Xan

Founder and senior editor of VODA. Cocktailian, Journalist, Traveler, and the next Robin Leach.

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