The N.C. Sweet Potato Commission and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services challenged bartenders to create cocktails using sweet potatoes. Bartender Mark Weddle of Greensboro submitted Mary’s in the Root Cellar Again, which combines vodka, bloody Mary mix and sweet potato puree. Christopher Tamplin of DLS Events in Cary submitted a whiskey, crude bitters and sweet potato cocktail aptly named Tater in the Rye. Check out two winning recipes below.
Mary’s in the Root Cellar Again
In a large rocks glass, build the cocktail in the order listed. Try to layer the sweet potato puree on top if possible. Garnish with celery, lemon, roasted sweet potatoes and bacon.
Roasted Sweet Potato Puree
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prick holes in 3-4 sweet potatoes and roast for 1 hour. Allow to cool and remove the flesh from the skin. Place the flesh in a blender or food processor with salt, pepper and slowly add water while blending until smooth. Store in an airtight container, shelf life is 48 hours.
Tater in the Rye
Place all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with mint leaf.
Sweet Potato & Smoked Paprika Simple Syrup
Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and let cool. Keep in refrigerator for up to three weeks.