With winter in our rearview mirror, we can finally welcome spring with open arms. We think that deserves a toast, and we've got the perfect recipe for it. Brandon Rucker, beverage director of neighborhood darling Sarma in Somerville, Massachusetts, recently brought his skills to the Beard House when he joined his colleague (and 2016 JBF Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Northeast) Cassie Piuma for a modern Middle Eastern feast. Rucker paired this elegant, refreshing cocktail with Piuma's seven-layer hummus for a crowd-pleasing course that mixed seasonal ingredients with the flavors of the Fertile Crescent. The Gin Mare is a delicious, sophisticated combination of gin, fresh citrus juices, manzanilla sherry, and subtly savory celery bitters guaranteed to put a little spring in your step.
Hilary Deutsch is editorial assistant at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram.