A garden inspired cocktail competition hits Montecito’s Lotusland

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Lotusland, the 37-acre estate of the late Madame Ganna Walska tucked away in Montecito, is best known for its whimsical maze of diverse botanical gardens. But, this weekend, the gardens will take a backstage as six Santa Barbara bartenders battle it out.

At Spirit of Lotusland, each mixologist will create a cocktail inspired by a different garden within the property.

KCRW met up with contender Kyle Peete, a bartender at Alcazar and Milk & Honey, as he stopped by the Santa Barbara Farmers Market to plan for the competition. He’s been assigned the Cactus Garden.

Alcazar chef Alvaro Rojas and bartender Kyle Peete sample pineapple guavas at Catlin Ranch’s farmstand. (Kathryn Barnes/KCRW) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Here are some of Kyle’s favorite farmers market inspired cocktails:

Yin & Yuz


1 small bunch of cilantro

3-4 cubes of watermelon

Pinch of salt

1oz yuzu

1/2oz orange blossom honey

2oz of Cutler’s gin

Shaken and served up in a small coup garnished with a cilantro leaf
img_2970Ring around the Rosemary

1 heaping bar spoon of Mamas apricot and jalapeño jam

Pinch of rosemary

1/2 oz lemon juice

1-2 dashes of bitters

2oz Cutlers stagecoach whiskey or bourbon

Shaken and served on the rocks with a lemon twist, jalapeño wheel, and sprig of rosemary

To check out all our past farmers market segments, head to kcrw.com/meetatthemarket.