Farm to cocktail
Our House in Davis creates weekly seasonal cocktails with fresh muddled fruit from its local farmers market
The swelter of summer may be here, but Our House, nestled in the heart of downtown Davis, offers an escape from the heat with its refreshing market muddles—craft cocktails centered around fruit fresh from the Davis Farmers Market.
From mid-March through the end of October while the Wednesday market is open, Our House patrons can expect a new market muddle every week—from loquat basil smashes to strawberry margaritas. Tim Huneck, bartender at Our House, makes a quick trip to the market each week in search of local fruit for a fresh market muddle to kick off happy hour.
“The recipes themselves are really simple,” Huneck says. “It’s summer, it’s hot and that’s what draws people in—something that’s going to be light and refreshing. Usually, when you make cocktails, the basic cocktail has the base liquor, lemon or lime juice and then basic ingredients that balance out the sweet or tart of the lemon or lime.”
Huneck searches the market for fresh fruit that catches his eye. The deep-red cherries and vibrant strawberries are tempting, but he’s looking for something new. When Huneck samples a succulent plum—sweet meat and a tart bite from the skin—he’s found his fruit. He purchases a bag of plums from a Fresno farmer and brings the haul a few blocks back to Our House.
For Huneck, this is an opportunity for creativity with fresh ingredients—a bartender’s dream come true. He grew up in Germany, where he completed an apprenticeship and earned a bartending certificate at the Sofitel luxury hotel in Hamburg. He now brings his polished skill set and extensive mixology knowledge to Our House. He runs some ideas by manager Cassandra Runyan; with more than a decade of experience in bartending combined, the week’s original market muddle recipe starts to come to fruition as guests trickle in for happy hour.
Half a plum is muddled in the bottom of a cocktail mixer. Tequila is poured. Then the unmistakable clinking of ice against stainless steel as Huneck shakes the mixer, seemingly without effort.
What starts as a plum margarita quickly evolves into a plum daiquiri. Huneck says the tartness of the plum’s skin overpowers the libation, so he quickly tweaks the recipe and adds golden falernum, a syrup liqueur from the Caribbean. After a taste test from the chef, the final product is ready: A plum daiquiri that features fresh plums, rum, golden falernum, lime juice and simple syrup, strained over a round coupe glass and garnished with three slices of plum on a skewer laid across the rim.
“This is what our craft bar program is about,” Huneck says. “We do classic cocktails, industry standards like the old fashioned and things that everybody knows, but we also have things that you can only get here. We care about having drinks that people come back for.”