Posts made in January, 2013

The Cocktail Garden!

Posted on Jan 23, 2013 in Botany, Make This | 1 comment

The Cocktail Garden!

So!  Sunset magazine stopped by a few months ago. It was great fun hanging out with a couple of pros all day and watching them work.  (Oh, and there was some mixing of cocktails, too.)  Anyway, you can see the results in the February issue of Sunset, which is just hitting the stands now. And now–I’m delighted to share these charming hand-drawn illustrative plans of the cocktail garden that Susan Morrison of Creative Exteriors Landscape Design designed for me.  Susan is a cocktail aficionado and an expert in small-space gardening:  her book Garden Up! , co-authored with...

Read More

Grow Your Own: The Mixologist Simple Syrup Collection

Posted on Jan 17, 2013 in Drunken Botanist Plant Collection | 5 comments

Grow Your Own: The Mixologist Simple Syrup Collection

My cocktail-loving friends at Log House Plants have put together a collection of plants that are particularly worth growing for infusing in simple syrups and for making infused vodkas and liqueurs. They’re a wholesale nursery, so they’re growing the plants for sale at retail garden centers and gourmet grocery stores on the West Coast.  Look for them in your local indie garden center/grocery store, or order them online from the Territorial Seed Company, who has joined in this effort and put together a great collection of cocktail-friendly plants and seeds.   Here’s what we...

Read More

Grow Your Own: The Farmer’s Market Vodka Garden

Posted on Jan 17, 2013 in Drunken Botanist Plant Collection | Comments Off on Grow Your Own: The Farmer’s Market Vodka Garden

Grow Your Own:  The Farmer’s Market Vodka Garden

The clever people at Log House Plants have put together a collection of plants that blend oh-so-well with vodka-based cocktails. They’re a wholesale nursery, so they’re growing the plants for sale at retail garden centers and gourmet grocery stores on the West Coast.  Look for them in your local indie garden center/grocery store, or order them online from the Territorial Seed Company, who has joined in this effort and put together a great collection of cocktail-friendly plants and seeds. We called this first collection The Farmers Market Vodka Garden, because vodka can be made...

Read More

Pomegranate

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | Comments Off on Pomegranate

Pomegranate

Growing a pomegranate tree just so you can make your own grenadine may sound like a completely crazy idea, but there actually are dwarf varieties that could be nursed along in a large container and sheltered through the winter. ‘Nana’ reaches only two or 3 feet tall, and ‘State Fair’ gets to 5 feet. They can actually tolerate winter temperatures as low as about 10°F, but a tree in a container should come indoors when nighttime temperatures are routinely below 40°. You may be thinking that this is an awful lot of trouble for a batch of grenadine, and you’d probably be right. The...

Read More

Pineapple

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | 1 comment

Pineapple

Pineapple? That’s crazy! It is crazy to grow a pineapple, but I know that somebody out there wants to do it. If the authors of Growing Tasty Tropical Plants are to be believed, you can start one in a pot by simply taking the green top of a pineapple you buy at the grocery store and planting it so that the base is covered by about an inch of soil. Pineapples need lots of light and warmth, so this is definitely a summer project. Once the plant has produced plenty of leaves and looks like it’s about ready to fruit, there’s a weird trick you can do to move things along. Take a slice of...

Read More

Lemongrass

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | 2 comments

Lemongrass

It’s easy enough to start a lemongrass plant:  get one here, or buy fresh stalks in the produce section, set them in a glass of water, and wait a few weeks for them to take root. Give the plant rich soil amended with plenty of compost, a good granular, balanced organic fertilizer, full sun, and as much heat as you can provide. Plan on watering it with a nitrogen fertilizer every few weeks throughout the growing season. (I use a mixture of fish emulsion and kelp meal.) You can also grow lemongrass in a container, which makes it easier to shelter in the winter. The plants do well in a...

Read More

Sugarcane

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | Comments Off on Sugarcane

Sugarcane

The last time I was in Miami, I ordered a mojito and it came with a swizzle stick cut from fresh sugarcane. I’ve wanted to grow my own sugarcane ever since. It’s crazy, I know, to even consider cultivating a tropical plant like this unless you live — well, in the tropics. I have not yet figured out how to pull it off myself, but how hard can it be? It’s just a big, overgrown grass, right? Sugarcane very much prefers year-round temperatures above 70°, regular water, and full sun. But really, anyone with a greenhouse could nurse a pot of sugarcane along as long as temperatures didn’t...

Read More

Rose hips

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | Comments Off on Rose hips

Rose hips

Rugosa roses are known for producing large orange and red hips (that’s the fruit that contains the seeds) in the fall. The hips are rich in vitamin C and can be made into a liqueur. In fact, Koval Distillery in Chicago sells a rose hip liqueur. Make your own by harvesting fresh rose hips and cutting the woody ends off, then soaking in vodka for two or three months. Strain the vodka and mix with simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, heated until the sugar melts and then allowed to cool) until it’s as sweet as you’d like it to be. Then let it sit for another couple of weeks, and...

Read More

Fuchsia

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | 1 comment

Fuchsia

Hey, you know that giant fuchsia you have growing in your garden? Did you know that the fruit is edible? It is! Some varieties taste better than others, so a little experimentation is in order. Fuchsia fruit enthusiasts (yes, such a community exists) prefer the fruit of Fuchsia splendens, a Central American species that can tolerate light frost and might even survive a hard frost, although it will probably die back to the ground. In hot climates, this and most other fuchsias require some shade to keep them from getting scorched. Otherwise, all they need is rich soil, regular water, and a dose...

Read More

Citrus

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Plant This | 1 comment

Citrus

The most important thing you need to know about growing citrus for cocktails is that the rind is just as important as the juice. If you happen have a funky old citrus tree in your backyard and you believe its fruit to be inedible, you might be in luck. The peel might make fabulous limoncello or infused vodka. In fact, most of the great orange liqueurs like Curaçao come from Caribbean islands where Spaniards planted citrus trees, the trees produced nasty, inedible fruit, and someone figured out that the peels could be soaked in booze and still taste pretty good. Most citrus trees can be grown...

Read More