I have begun to notice a teeny pattern emerging in my current adventure bent. One post is almost leading to another. Visiting Love Farms was no exception. Shortly before I left the farm, Bibiana Love mentioned a man in town, Scott Beattie, who had written “a wonderful book about drinks” called Artisanal Cocktails. Hmmm. Not really a drinker, I might have passed until she revealed this man had a passion for using only the freshest ingredients and included all sorts of spices and flowers in his recipes. With this additional information I recognized this to be the next step in my blogging journey. I returned home, contacted the publisher, Ten Speed Press in Berkeley, and was on my way. Days later I had the book and an appointment to meet Scott in person.
My daughter and I drove down the next afternoon to the charming town of Healdsburg and met Scott on the local square and followed him back up to his home close by the local river. How special and how fun!
Arriving in Scott’s back yard, he graciously answered all my naive questions about mixing drinks. I was thrilled when he jumped up and offered to show me the basic tools one needed to have on hand in the kitchen to make basic drinks. Here you go. Look at this. Do you have these? I do not.
Boston shaker, Hawthorne strainer, juicer, bar spoon, zester, three jiggers
I love the word jigger. I think I have to have one simply so I have a good excuse to say it. Jigger, jigger, jigger. I bet it’s a very old word.
What I love about Scott’s book is that whether one uses alcohol in one’s drinks or not, one can benefit from Artisanal Cocktails. Scott gave me this wonderful tip: for any drink that contains gin, rum or vodka, one might eliminate the alcohol by simply replacing every 1 1/2 oz. of alcohol with 1/2 oz. of simple syrup and 1 oz. of water or soda water. Now we’re talking. Something for everyone. Scott emphasized that regardless of anything else it is imperative that we measure perfectly and that we always use fresh juices and flowers and spices. Scott had some special little trees growing in pots out back and the most fascinating one he called “Buddha’s Hand.” You could tell he especially treasured that one.
Here are two tricks I’m really grateful to have learned from Artisanal Cocktails.
1. Combine equal parts boiling water and superfine granulated sugar. (Note: the final yield of simple syrup is the same as the starting measurement of the water.)
2. Stir well until the sugar is completely dissolved.
3. You may store in an airtight container in the frig for up to one month.
Simple syrups may be infused with toasted spices or essential oils.
The other trick I am grateful to have learned is this.
Salted and Sugared Rims
1. Pour a 1/4″ layer of salt or sugar onto a flat plate.
2. Cut a lemon or other citrus fruit in half and run one piece of citrus around the rim of the glass. Shake off any excess juice.
3. Turn the glass upside down and dip the wet rim into the salt or sugar. Lift the glass straight up and gently shake off any excess.
I love these simple procedures in the kitchen that lend charm and interest to our servings. Imagine that the sheer adding of salt or sugar on a rim of a glass leaves one’s guests feeling so much more appreciated. And drinks are so much more fun.
It is in abundance most of the year round. Researching I had learned that women used to freeze the small blue exquisite flowers inside ice cubes, enhancing drinks served to guests in summer. I tried it and it worked! This opened my curiosity to including more flowers in my recipes, so I was particularly delighted to find this photo in Scott’s book, taken by photographer Sara Remington.
Fortunately the index of Artisanal Cocktails allowed me to find a lengthy invaluable list of edible flowers Scott uses in his culinary wizardry, and I shall be exploring how I might incorporate in my kitchen as well. His list includes the tiny flowers of basil and rosemary, the petals of dianthus and marigold, cosmos, hollyhock, lavender, roses and black-eyed Susans, always considering colors, sizes, aroma and tastes. An entire world to explore in a new context! I love it!
Imagine serving these drinks to your family and guests this summer!
Says Scott, “I’m constantly experimenting with new ingredients, and I encourage you to do the same. The cocktails in this book embrace my philosophy of using peak-of-the-season, locally produced ingredients.” I can’t wait to see what else Artisanal Cocktails reveals as I follow its inspirational directive in my kitchen!
Love and gardening blessings,
Posted on May 9th, 2009 by Kathryn
Filed under: Book Notes