Bitters Lab • Old-time bitters, once used to aid digestion and cure ailments, have become popular with the resurgence of craft cocktails. These concentrated liquids enhance alcoholic beverages, but also savory marinades and sweet baked goods, much like an extract. Keeping up with the trend in Salt Lake City is the Bitters Lab, which makes handcrafted infusions of herbs, spices, plants and other botanicals. Owners Andrea Latimer and Jesse Coss debuted their product in 2014 and currently sell a fruity version with dried cherries, vanilla and orange peel; and a woodsy mix made with charred cedar and currant. A few drops of the latter will "take your whiskey up several notches," said Latimer. It also works well in a gin-based old-fashioned (see recipe). Both types of bitters are sold in a 4-ounce bottle with a dropper for $20. But a little goes a long way.
Kindred Yerba Mate • The Downtown Farmers Market offers several places to buy coffee and tea — either fresh brewed or bagged to carry home — but there's only one stand that sells South American Yerba Mate. Pronounced YERB-ah MAH-tay, it is made from the leaves and stems of a type of holly plant. Steeped much like tea, it is often sipped through a filtering straw called a bombilla. While it doesn't have as much caffeine as coffee, it's said to have energy-boosting properties. "It's somewhere between green tea and coffee," said Rodrigo Vidal, a native of Argentina and a co-owner of Kindred with Adam Bullough. Traditionally, the bittersweet beverage is served hot, encouraging drinkers to relax and be social with friends, but it also can be served cold. Bullough and Vidal import the yerba mate and make lemon, mint and cacao blends. Loose-leaf yerba mate comes in a 4-ounce tin for $8, or a 1-pound bag for $12. Prepackaged tea bags will be coming soon. Special ceramic mugs, made by local artists, and bombilla straws will be available at the stand along with the proper instructions for steeping.
Mamachari Kombucha • Owner Christy Jensen will once again bring fermented sweet tea — and her recognizable "poop like a boss" sign — to the downtown market. Bottles of the effervescent drink are available at retail stores in the Salt Lake Valley, but at the market Mamachari Kombucha is sold only on tap. Jensen encourages customers to trade in their used 64-ounce growlers for a clean one filled with kombucha for $15. For those who don't have a refillable container, some will be available for $3. Kombucha also is available in 12-ounce cups for $3.50. Throughout the summer, Jensen will offer a rotating list of kombucha flavors including mint lime, honey hops, lavender honey and her signature lemon ginger.
Sweet Lake Limeade • At this popular stand — starting its eighth year at the downtown market — customers get a refreshing drink and a culinary show. They watch as fresh limes are sliced, juiced, combined with water, sugar and fresh mint in a jar and then given a good shake — or flip — before being poured into a clear plastic cup. "People really enjoy watching the process," said Hasen Cone, co-owner with wife Teri Rosquist, "and with the limes and mint leaves floating inside, people are really drawn to the colors." The limeade stand was founded in a roundabout way, Cone said. "Who plans on having a lemonade stand, unless you're an 8-year-old?" joked the 37-year-old. After graduating with a history degree from Utah State University, Cone bought a series of shaved ice shacks that were profitable. "The only problem was I didn't like shaved ice," he said. He sold the shacks and tried a desk job for a while, but that wasn't his style. So he returned to the food industry with a cool summer treat he did like. At the market, a 20-ounce glass of limeade sells for $4.