Ever since I moved to the Northwest, I have loved foraging for wild greens and mushrooms, and I can usually find an adventurous companion to venture out with me. Nic Petersen is as much of a lover of the great outdoors as I am. On a recent outing, we gathered an abundance of chanterelles for Park Kitchen. Mine went toward several dishes on the fall menu. Nic's went toward a new cocktail for the bar. It has become a fall tradition to infuse vodka with chanterelles for the Park Kitchen cocktail menu. Simply clean and tear the mushrooms into strips and cover with vodka for about two weeks. At first, the chanterelles will cover the bottom of the jar, but eventually, as they absorb the alcohol and become more buoyant, they will float to the top. Once you begin to see the golden color dispursing into the vodka, and the aroma opening up, strain and discard the mushrooms, making sure to press all the alcohol from them.
Nic created this year's chanterelle cocktail, a delicious concoction of the chanterelle vodka with Lillet Blanc, Cocchi Americano and a delicate touch of lemon. Cocchi Americano is an Italian aperitif blending Moscato with herbs and spices, notably cinchona, gentian and citrus. The elements combine as a fragrant, pale golden elixir appropriately named "The Forager." Whether you are a mushroom enthusiast or just like something delicious to sip on, this is an elegant cocktail. Once the vodka is gone, you'll have to wait until next fall.