The Little Fleet cultivates refreshing craft cocktails with Northern Michigan farmers market finds.

Each year, as the summer solstice kicks up the heat, Bar Manager Barbara Saxton invites Little Fleet guests to cool off with her seasonal Farmers Market Cocktails featuring fresh, local fruit, herbs and vegetables.

Sugar snap peas with your gin? Micro marigolds served atop your tequila? If you can imagine it, she’s probably concocted its.

The produce for Barbara’s innovative infusions, syrups and garnishes is sourced from Northern Michigan farms like Lakeview Hill and Loma. While Barbara says her drink menu is ever-evolving this year due to the COVId-19 pandemic, patrons can expect to see creations over the next few months starring strawberries, snap peas, lavender, lemon balm and tomatoes.

Thanks to a partnership with Taste the Local Difference, Barbara’s Farmers Market Cocktails crop up on Little Fleet’s drink menu on June 20 each summer and stay through the fall.

Farmers Market Cocktail Recipes

  • .25 ounce Ancho Reyes
  • .25 ounce lime juice
  • Splash of agave
  • 1 ounce corn milk (we used Hall’s sweet corn, recipe below)

Shake and strain into a coupe glass and garnish (we used micro marigolds from Loma Farm).

Corn Milk

  • 1 cup Hall’s sweet corn kernels
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup agave syrup
  • pinch of salt

Bring to a soft boil, just until corn is soft. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly. Blend in a blender and strain through a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer. Refrigerate up to five days.

  • 1.5 ounces Old Tom Ransom Gin
  • 1 ounce burnt honey syrup (Sleeping Bear Farms’ honey is made locally in Beulah, recipe below)
  • .5 ounce lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Shake and strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon slice.

Burnt Honey Syrup

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup water

Heat a half-cup of honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the honey starts to simmer and foam, reduce the heat to low. Let the honey cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for another 2–3 minutes, or until the honey turns a deep golden brown. Remove from heat and immediately add 1/3 cup water and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool.

Photo(s) by The Little Fleet