A few weeks ago a sign appeared at our local farmers' market. It read, "Ramps are coming next week!" The joy was palpable. As people walked by and read it, you could hear the excitement in their voices. All that for a little leafy wild onion. Of course, ramps aren't just any regular garlicky vegetable. They're the first new thing we've had at the market in months; a sign that spring is really here.
You can bet I was at the market bright and early the following week, ready to snap up some ramps before they inevitably sold out. My first instinct when I brought them home was to preserve their flavor, so I could hold onto this thing that I'd waited so long for. Kenji posted a great recipe for pickled ramps last year that I knew would be perfect. It not only preserved these little treasures, but also provided an infused brine that I could incorporate into a cocktail.
Looking to really highlight that oniony flavor, I went for the classic, elegant Gibson. A little brine goes a long way, so a splash of brine, another splash of dry vermouth and a hearty serving of gin is stirred with ice for about a minute, to ensure that enough water melts and dilutes the drink a little. That little addition of the brine brings an earthy, slightly sweet onion flavor to this classic cocktail. It's a great unwinding-after-work drink, especially paired with a few savory snacks before dinner.
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About the author: Kelly Carámbula blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, including a weekly happy hour, on eat make read. She is also the founder and publisher of Remedy Quarterly, an independent food journal.