Chefs aren't the only culinary professionals inspired by everything that blooms in springtime: Bartenders are increasingly reaching for edible petals when garnishing their drinks. Cocktail writers generally point to the 2007 introduction of St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur as a watershed moment for floral acceptance on both sides of the bar. But the practice isn't without potential pitfalls. As Bob Peters, a Charlotte bartender who's floated orange nasturtium and arugula flowers in his drinks, earlier this year told The Washington Post, “When you get too perfumey, the memory that it triggers for me is my grandmother. It's very vivid in my head — that moment as a small child when you haven't seen your grandmother in a while and you hug her? Your drink suddenly goes from a pleasant cocktail experience to somewhere you did not expect to be.”
Bartender Bethany Kocak created the begonia-topped Garden Gnome to showcase the season's vegetal flavors: The drink is made with gin, green tomato and basil.
McCrady's, 2 Unity Alley, 577-0025
Customers hip to the existence of the restaurant's rooftop garden.