Farm-to-table sourcing is downright tame compared with what some distillers and bartenders are doing to source spirited ingredients. They're foraging for wild-grown plants in local parks, fields and forests.
"There are some weeds that you suddenly find value in when you can do something with them," cocktail historian Jared Brown of Mixellany, told attendees at a Tales of the Cocktail seminar Friday on homemade cocktail components. Dandelion wine? Blecht, he ruled. But a homemade dandelion cordial was delightful.
More of the finds are less noticeable plants—yet, ones you probably pass by every day. To find them, CNBC tagged along on a foraging tour earlier this month that importer Frederick Wildman and Sons organized for local bartenders in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Barely off the sidewalk, forager "Wildman" Steve Brill, who has been leading NYC-area tours for more than 30 years, was already pointing out several varieties of edible plants—including several in the mustard family, and a relative to spinach—growing like weeds (which they are) along the path.
(What did we find—and make cocktail-worthy? Check out the video above.)