It’s no surprise, perhaps, that the arugula gimlet is not yet a best seller on the cocktail list at the new Farm & Fisherman Tavern in Horsham. It’s “a reach drink,” concedes general manager Ben Menk, not unlike the corn cocktail they ran last summer at the original F&F Tavern in Cherry Hill, where this vegetable-loving crew made its first foray into the suburbs. But I’m an open-minded drinker, even if this gimlet sounds like a parody of a farm-to-table cocktail, and even if I’ve had other bitter green drinks (made with kale) that were traumatic. As always, the skill of the bartender makes all the difference, and this gimlet is a successful example. The secret of any good gimlet is about balance between the tartness of lime, the punchy botanicals of gin (here, locally made Faber), and just the right touch of sweetness and fizz to round the edges. The addition of arugula, though, adds another element that only salad greens can bring — a peppery burst of chlorophyll that infuses the cocktail like a lantern after a convincing ride through the shaker. The flavor brightens the drink without overwhelming it, lending a refreshing garden note that’s earthier than mint (a green we never question in drinks) and with a lithe texture that’s more smooth-sipping than a thick smoothie. No, as good as this one is, the arugula gimlet still may never be a popular choice alongside the blueberry mojitos, moody Manhattans, and peach margaritas of this world. But when it’s done right, I can think of few better ways to drink my daily dose of salad.
– Craig LaBan
Arugula gimlet, $9, Farm & Fisherman Tavern, 575 Horsham Rd., Horsham; 267-673-8974; farmandfisherman.com