The Edible Guide

Our picks for where to eat, drink and shop in Brooklyn.

Aska

“I grew up in Scandinavia, so I’m no stranger to cold winters. I learned early on how to get the most out of the seasons,” says Aska‘s head bartender Selma Slabiak. “Nordic cuisine utilizes many ingredients generally that are thought of as winter ingredients in the U.S. Root vegetables such as beets, sunchokes and turnips have a lot of flavor, and you can roast, pickle or use fresh to make them even more interesting.”

At Aska, the entirety of the food and bar programs—beyond the spirits themselves—rely on seasonal and local ingredients, explains Slabiak. “We don’t use citrus for that exact reason, which in a beverage program can be quite challenging,” she says. Beyond taking advantage of local markets, Slabiak relies on foraging guides like The Flavor Bible and The Drunken Botanist, studying and tasting as she goes through the year. Tart sea buckthorns (nonnative yellowish-orange egg-shape berries) are one of her favorite syrup ingredients, and by very early spring, she’s looking to nettles, spruce tips, woodruff (nonnative woodland groundcover with hay-like fragrance), ramsons (nonnative chive relative), sorrel, goutweed (nonnative member of the carrot family)—and even flowers like daisies and violets—to round out her repertoire. “You can never go too far,” she says, “as long as you understand the flavors of both the greens and the spirit you use and how to mix them properly.” —Liz Clayton

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