alissa and ryanbehind the bardrinksentertainingFood & Drinkrecipes

behind the bar: morris kitchen’s winter csa

by Ryan and Alissa Walker

When I was just a little guy (we’re talking four or five years old), my younger sister and I spent many an afternoon stowed away in the pantry as we mixed, blended and concocted all sorts of interesting (read: inedible) food creations. For unknown reasons at the time, our mother tolerated these shenanigans even though she inevitably had to clean up our mess. After being introduced to today’s contributors, however, I am finally realizing that it was her small way of fostering our creativity in the hopes that we might some day end up with a company like Morris Kitchen (she is Italian, so cooking is a large part of her life and was probably in her hopes and dreams for all three of her children).

Brother and sister Kari and Tyler Morris founded Morris Kitchen in 2008. Tyler, a chef by day, and Kari, who works in the arts, thought to combine their two passions and start a company that organized fine-food events and bespoke dinners. After a short period of time, they realized they wanted a tangible element to complement their events. The pair set to work testing different syrup recipes and methods, and they boiled, juiced, pureed and blended until they found the perfect combination and ratio of ingredients. For their first production, they made 20 bottles of ginger syrup, which sold out within hours at a local food market in Brooklyn. Thus began their ginger-syrup journey. Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup can be found at select stores in NYC, Brooklyn, and Canada and online at Hickoree’s. Today they have crafted a fine (and I do mean fine) cocktail called “The Winter CSA” (“community-supported agriculture”). A special thank you to Tyler’s fiance, Lauryn Bushman, for all of the wonderful photos. Now on to the tasty stuff from Kari & Tyler, and what to do with the abundant CSA squash! — Ryan & Alissa

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Naturally, all drinks that I make these days involve ginger syrup. In the summer months, there seem to be a million and one drinks to whip up; a dark and stormy or a tequila-lime concoction is always a crowd pleaser. The question for me lately is what to do in those cold winter months when the CSA leaves you with a bounty of squash and potatoes? So I set out to find a way to drink my CSA.

The Winter CSA is a warming winter cocktail with a note of spice and a rich, almost savory distinction.

Winter CSA Ingredients

  • 2 oz. squash-infused vodka (recipe follows)
  • 3/4 oz. Morris Kitchen ginger syrup
  • 1 oz. sherry
  • 1 oz. lemon juice

Winter CSA Methodology
Makes 1 serving

Chill a martini glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add 2 oz. of pumpkin-infused vodka. Add ginger syrup and lemon juice. Shake vigorously until well chilled, not more than ten seconds. Strain into a prepared martini glass. Top with a sherry float (sherry carefully poured on top), and garnish with a lemon twist or sprig of mint.

Squash-Infused Vodka Ingredients
Makes 1 liter of vodka

  • 1 small (3–4 lb.) organic squash
  • 1 dried chili (hatch)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 liter vodka

Squash-Infused Vodka Methodology

1. Cut squash in half and remove pulp and seeds (we like to roast the seeds in the oven with a little sea salt). Slice squash into large cubes and remove outer skin from flesh with a sharp knife. Next, cut squash flesh into small cubes, approximately 1/2-inch thick. Place half of the cubed squash into a two-liter jar with a tight-closing lid. Add cinnamon stick, chili and squash pulp to the jar.

2. Add remaining cubes of squash and fill jar with vodka. Seal jar tightly with lid. Let sit for two weeks at room temperature and stir mixture gently with a spoon. The vodka will start to turn a dark earthy color.

3. Once the infusion is complete, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer. Press the remaining pumpkin in a strainer with the back of a spoon. Discard everything left in the strainer. Re-strain the vodka through a single layer of cheesecloth to remove sediment. Funnel the infused vodka back into a bottle and store in the refrigerator. Keeps indefinitely.

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  • I have a bottle of this and love it! We use it for tea (it’ll cure a fever fast), in cookies and teriyaki sauce for shish kabobs. What fun to see it featured on your blog.

  • My mouth watered involuntarily when I saw the first image!! and what a creative sibling combo!! I love the table they are leaning against!!
    have a great weekend !! xx meenal

  • I got a bottle of this ginger syrup in the fall and loved it so much that I bought bottles for all my foodie family and friends for Xmas. It’s really a versatile and delicious (and good looking) product — great in cocktails but also in seltzer, on ice cream and in recipes for desserts (I think they also have some savory recipes on their sites). It’s so good that Marlow & Daughters in Brooklyn are now blatantly copying them — the bottles and everything! But I bought it to compare and it’s not nearly as good sa Morris Kitchen’s (it’s way too cloying, whereas Morris Kitchen’s is the perfect balance of sweetness and gingery snap). Cheers to Morris Kitchen!

  • This sounds great! But I can’t imagine just throwing away a whole squash afterwards. Can’t something be done with boozy squash chunks?? perhaps squash turnovers..

  • Would still love samples to give to my sister… they just opened a second restaurant, plus there are a handful of swanky bars the would support this kind of product. If you’d like to get your goods into the ‘wine country’ I’d be willing to distribute samples… E (Pauls cousin)