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Find handcrafted cocktail mixes at Pittsburgh Public Market

Vendors offer natural, organic ingredients

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The Pittsburgh Public Market might be best known for its selection of farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, but it's also a terrific spot when it comes to libations: East End Brewery and Glades Pike Winery have ready-to-drink booze on hand, and there are a couple of vendors offering handcrafted cocktail mixes.

Clarion River Organics has discovered a way to preserve its summer harvest while adding a kick to Sunday brunch: They've created a mean Bloody Mary mix ($6). 

"It's a delicious way to use leftover tomatoes from the season," says Clarion employee Shauna Frantz-Deppe, adding that the tomatoes are all local and organic. 

To those tomatoes Clarion has added horseradish, garlic and sugar, creating a sweet and spicy combination. All that's needed is the vodka, though Frantz-Deppe has her own suggestion for spicing things up: "I always love to put pickled asparagus in it, and some cayenne vodka." 

A few stalls down from Clarion River, meanwhile, is Kahila's Authentic Caribbean Cuisine. Owner Kahila Miller brews an all-natural ginger beer from a recipe handed down by her mother, who used to make it in Antigua and St. Croix (where Miller grew up). Miller touts it as the perfect mixer for a Dark and Stormy — "just add rum," she says — though you could add vodka instead to get a Moscow Mule. And unlike most commercially prepared ginger ale, Miller's infusion is low in sugar. "I really want people to taste the ginger," she says. 

Miller also makes a sorrel (hibiscus) drink that's sweet and floral. She says that in the Caribbean, dark rum is the traditional mixer for the refreshing drink. Added bonus: Leave it in the refrigerator and it will naturally carbonate. Leave it in longer, "and it becomes wine," Miller says. "You don't have to do anything."

And if all those cocktails leave you with a foggy head, Miller has a solution: She sells coconuts, whose water is reputed to cure hangovers. "It's like an I.V.," she says.

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