Bayport’s farm-to-table Grey Horse Tavern (GHT), having just celebrated their five-year anniversary this past May, has made great strides in the local food movement. Their seasonally inspired menu, which highlights Long Island’s local goods, from land to sea, has continually celebrated the farms, fisheries, breweries and local purveyors of quality, sustainable, organic-whenever-possible products that our great stretch of land has to offer. And so, as the years have passed, proprietors Linda Ringhouse and Irene Dougal’s own piece of local land has been cultivated into a place of ingredients, for both cuisine and cocktails, as the gardens that line their parking lot are their most local and freshest source.
Tended by local gardeners Lauren Napoli and Russell Barone of Garden Grove Farm in Patchogue, the raised-bed gardens at GHT boast a wide array of herbs and veggies. Mint, basil, oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary, parsley, arugula, mustard greens, hakurei turnips, beets, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes and radishes are all used in a variety of ways across the menu. “Lauren and Russell were the hands behind making our garden so beautiful this year,” says executive chef Meredith Machemer. “They optimized the space we have to yield enough of what we need to use in our kitchen, not wasting ground on things we won’t get to but rather cleverly creating an amazing variety of beautiful produce and herbs that we will be able to feature through the season.”
Sprinkled generously across both the dinner and drink menus is GHT’s garden mint, with appearances made in the restaurant’s summer-inspired Fae Done-Away cocktail, a concoction of organic cucumber vodka, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, homemade ginger-infused simple syrup and fresh mint. The spirited creation of employee Khiara Scala, and a refreshing twist on the been-there-done-that mojito, the Fae Done-Away pairs beautifully with the Lin Lin Asian Salad, also featuring GHT’s garden mint and a medley of organic sprout salad mix, organic pea shoots, Napa cabbage, English cucumbers, scallions, basil, cilantro, carrots, pickled beets, crispy buckwheat soba noodles, all tossed in a sriracha-lime vinaigrette, topped with a peanut-chile sauce.
Machemer and her Grey Horse Tavern team pride themselves in providing their loyal customers with made-from-scratch meals using the best, freshest local products. “It’s so exciting to be able to source ingredients from your own backyard.” Machemer says. “The simple act of running out to the garden to snip mint, cut arugula or grab some Swiss chard and bring it back to the kitchen, clean it and serve it all in under 30 minutes is amazing! It doesn’t get any fresher than that.”
FAE DONE-AWAY COCKTAIL RECIPE
10-ounce rocks glass filled with ice
1 ounce Crop Cucumber Vodka
2 sprigs fresh mint
¼ ounce ginger-infused simple syrup
3 ounces fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
1 ounce club soda
Combine vodka, mint, simple syrup in glass.
Add ice and grapefruit juice and shake vigorously.
Pour back into glass.
Top with soda.
Garnish with mint and quarter slice grapefruit.