The current world of cocktail-making is one of intense experimentation: taking flavors one wouldn’t associate with drinking and putting them in a glass. Think cheeses, mushrooms and even tar. This has grown into a real industry of research and development. Many places, such as Tony Conigliaro’s award-winning Drink Factory in London, literally work in science labs to craft the perfect drink.

As a home drink-maker, it may seem like getting in on the fun is out of reach when mixology has moved into beakers and centrifuges. But there is always room to mess around in your own kitchen. The easiest way is to just throw something tasty into a bottle and let it sit awhile and see what happens. For example: Use whiskey in place of water to make cold-brew coffee and you have an amazing start to mixed drink nirvana.

Savory drinks have always fascinated me, and I decided to put together a few carrot-based drinks as an experiment in kitchen laboratory-ness. As a bonus, I used a local business' product in each drink.

First up is a variation on the dark and stormy that uses my favorite drink from New Mexico Hard Cider (taproom: 505 Cerrillos Road, 231-0632). The Purple Bunny is an apple and purple carrot cider that is so so so good, and this cocktail only amps up that goodness.

Bunny Storm

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz dark rum (not spiced)
  • 3 oz New Mexico Hard Cider’s Purple Bunny
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • Freshly diced ginger

Directions:

Drop some freshly diced ginger in the bottom of a Collins glass, then fill with ice. Add the rum, cider and lime juice and stir gently with a spoon or the knife you cut the limes with. Garnish with a lime wedge.

I'll tell you a secret—I have a slight tomato allergy. I know. I love them so much, but a whole drink based around them is not a great idea for me. So this is a carrot variation on the bloody Mary, my go-to brunch drink. It uses the golden milk carrot blend from Verde Juice (851 W San Mateo Road, 780-5151; 105 E Marcy St., 983-8147). A quick note: You can make horseradish vodka by soaking some fresh horseradish in a bottle for a few weeks. It'll be more mild, but is a fun variation.

Golden Mary

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 lime, cut into four wedges
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dash ground red chile
  • ¼ teaspoon Cholula hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated horseradish
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz Verde’s golden milk cold-pressed juice
  • 1 stick each celery and carrot

Directions:

Run one of the lime wedges around the rim of the glass then coat with salt. Fill a 12-oz glass with ice.

In a shaker, add the Worcestershire, soy, black pepper, chile, Cholula and horseradish. Give this all a little muddle then fill the shaker with ice. Add vodka and golden milk juice. Squeeze the remaining three lime wedges into it as well.

Shake like you mean it. Strain into the tumbler and garnish with the celery and carrot stick and that lime wedge you used to rim the glass.