Local Food's New Apostles: Bartenders, Er, 'Bar Chefs'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2009 12:00 PM CDT
A shopper checks out the apples at the Union Square green market in New York.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The affinity for fresh, local produce in US restaurants has spilled out into the bar, USA Today reports. Many mixologists—or the new term of art, “bar chefs”—are starting their days scouting farmers markets instead of ordering syrups. “The flavor in the produce is not only better,” one bartender said, “but I love the idea that we are contributing to a family-run, neighborhood farm.”

Some even tout the health benefits of fresh produce—sort of. “Five whiskies are still five whiskies,” a bar chef said. “But if you aren’t also drinking all those chemicals and sugars from some bottled sour mix, you’ve got to feel better.” Another thinks that once you’ve gone fresh, you’ll never go back. “Drinking seasonally is a trend that’s here to stay,” she said. “As people get more connected to what they eat, it will translate into drinking.”