Drinks, anyone?

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.

Simple Syrup

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.

Last summer I had turned to my own garden and to the borage I had inherited when I moved here.

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.

Frondsong

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!


rhubarbarella

Gin Kimchi

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,
Kathryn

24 Responses to “Drinks, anyone?”

  1. Yes dear Kathryn … another beautiful post right up my alley! Covet your borage … mine disappeared and it’s a ‘must have’, especially for floating in my spring soups. It’s May wine (a good German wine marinated with fresh sweet woodruff) time at my house … a ‘must’ treat when touring my May garden. (The Garden Club gals toasted May at the meeting in my garden). Cheers and Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. Hi, Joey! I could not possibly have written this post without thinking of you. You are the queen of this realm. Sorry to hear of the disappearing borage. Wish I could send you some seedlings. They are everywhere! If I figure out how to save their seeds I will send you some! May wine sounds intriguing! Happy Mother’s Day to you, my dear. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kathryn xoxo

  3. What a Beautiful and Fun post, mom! I Love that one need not be a drinker of spirits to enjoy!

    It’s a Lovely way to utilize flowers and herbs from the garden in an impressive way! I’m certain guests will be Delighted at such Creativity! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love you,
    Antonia
    xoxox

  4. Hi, Antonia! Thanks! So glad you went with me on this interview/shoot! We had a fun day! Love, Mom xoox

  5. Beautiful pictures! It’s great to see flowers in drinks taken to an art form! Thanks for sharing this unique corner of the world.

  6. lovely to look at, delightful to hold…I feel refreshed just looking at these lovely drinks. Thanks for sharing. And…Happy Mother’s Day! Jeannie

  7. Good morning, Jennifer! Yes, exactly! Scott truly is an artist in the Drink Dept.! What an inspiration to try our own varieties, right? Kathryn xoxo

  8. Welcome, Jeannie! Thank you so much! “Delightful to hold.” I like that thought! Kathryn xoxo

  9. What a beautifully delicious post! Truly elegant!

  10. Welcome, Sandra! Thank you so much for your kind words. So glad you stopped by! Kathryn xoxo

  11. Happy Mother’s Day sweet wonderful Kathryn!
    I could smell the lime literally as I looked at the first photo. You truly opened up my curiosity & wonder as you began to write about the drinks w/o alcohol. How FUN! I think I need to get this book now! My heart just about jumped out of my chest in excitement when I saw the all of the photos w/ all the different arrangements in the drinks.
    What a wonderful thing to do to make your guests feel extra special!
    Thank you!

  12. Hi, Cyndee! Thank you!! Yes, I think this is a lost art! If women were freezing borage into their ice cubes, there must be many things they were doing we think we are too busy to do now. But it doesn’t seem to me that these little additional efforts take that much time and add so much! Of course the secret will be to use the freshest of the fresh, but that is always true, right?? Hugs! Kathryn xoxoo

  13. What a lovely post. I’m eager to try out the book. There are so many different edibles that lend themselves to these types of drinks.

    Incidentally, borage was supposed to โ€œmake the mind glad,โ€ according to renowned 16th century herbalist John Gerarde. The little star-like flowers are certainly pretty enough… Thanks for sharing.

  14. Welcome, Seasonal Wisdom! Thank you so much for sharing that lovely bit of information about borage! Making the mind glad is a worthy endeavor for a plant! Yes, they are so lovely. Thanks for the visit! Kathryn oxoox

  15. Without question, one of my *favorite* of all your posts. Thanks for sharing the little kitchen tricks such as simply syrup and the rim treatments. I also LOVE the flowers inside the ice cubes idea…. I will definitely be trying that out this Summer!! With the size of your readership and the delights offered up in this chapter, I suspect the whole world is going to be a more colorful place this Summer.. and perhaps with a “gladder mind” as well!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Mahalo!!

  16. Hi, Pamela! THANK YOU! I can see that this post would have particular appeal to someone living on an island! ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of opportunity to employ! Your words are very kind and you have touched my heart. Love, Kathryn xoxo

  17. This looks like a beautiful book, even if you are not a drinker. Like me. It does suggest that pretty glasses, flowers and trimmings will make any guest feel special no matter what is actually in the glass. I use simple syrup in fresh lemonade and it makes all the difference.

  18. Hi, Commonweeder! Oooohhh. I will try simple syrup with lemonade. Thanks! A friend brought me an abundance of lemons from her tree. I will try that soon. Kathryn xoxo

  19. Dear Kathryn,
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    I read and then had to re-read your essay.
    Gosh, I just love making the cocktails (mine has no booze) I make it every morning.
    So much fun!
    OK: here is my everyday cocktail:
    Put a full tea kettle to boil
    Gather three lemons ( we gather from our Meyer lemon tree), cut in half, squeeze and reserve in a pitcher
    Gather a bunch of mint stalks and place in a teapot
    Add three to four scoops of sugar to the teapot
    Pour boiling water into the teapot and infuse 15 minutes
    Pour the infusion from teapot into the pitcher with the lemon juice
    Bring water to boil again and re-fill teapot with boiling water and infuse the mint and sugar again, 15 minutes, then pour and fill the pitcher to brim.
    Cool or refrigerate with a cover.
    Serve in tall glasses over ice, preferably with a colorful plastic straw
    Now, children love picking their straw color, and squeezing the lemons.
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    And, yes! the ice can have borage flowers or lemon peel!
    So much fun Kathryn. Thank you for letting me share, and thank you for your fun post.
    Warm regards,
    ๐Ÿ™‚
    Philip

  20. Oh, hi, Philip! How wonderful to have your visit! I love this infusion you’ve detailed! I just noticed some mint I’d forgotten I’d planted springing up in the last week, so mint in hand. I will try soon. Thank you so much for leaving this for us! Kathryn xoxoo

  21. Bold drinks, looks like an interesting book. I’ve done the borage cubes before, it’s pretty cool. We recently did it with some allium blooms in plain ice water and we’ll probably do chives when they bloom. I hadn’t thought of using some of the others on the list.

  22. Hi, Ryan, It’s a very fun endeavor and I think there are endless possibilities! Kathryn xoxo

  23. So enjoyed this article and the lovely pictures. BUT as pretty as borage is from a distance, I have banned it from my herb garden. I even wrote a poem about this years ago

    I am not fond of prickles.
    I am not fond of pain.
    I grew borage once,
    But I’m no dunce.
    I’ll not grow it again.

  24. Hi, Carla, So true that we have to be careful how we handle some plants. I love borage, but am very careful which part of the plant I touch with bare hands, for sure. The bees love it, so it stays. #beeswin Kathryn

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