Posts made in January, 2013


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

I tend to think of figs as coming from enormous trees that you’d have to climb in order to harvest, but the fact is that you actually can grow a fig tree in a pot. The authors of Growing Tasty Tropical Plants recommend three varieties: ‘Petite Negra,’ ‘Chicago Hardy,’ and ‘Black Mission.’ All three will grow to about 4 feet in height in a large container as long as they have full sun and aren’t exposed to temperatures much below 25°F. Plan on giving them a balanced organic fertilizer once every couple of weeks during the growing season, but don’t feed them in the winter...

Read More


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

If you’re growing melons specifically for a cocktail garden, it really make sense to look for small-fruited varieties. Better to have a steady supply of small melons on hand than two or three jumbo fruits that took all season to ripen. There’s a beautiful heirloom watermelon called ‘Small Shining Light’ that tolerates short, cool growing seasons and produces 10-inch fruit. ‘Sugar Baby’ is another small, icebox-style watermelon you might try. I also like ‘Minnesota Midget,’ a miniature cantaloupe bred to tolerate short seasons. No matter what variety you grow, remember to give...

Read More


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

I love tomatillos in cocktails because they add such a bright, citrusy flavor. Grow them as you would tomatoes, giving them plenty of sun, rich soil, regular water, and a granular organic fertilizer formulated for vegetables. There’s really just one difference: to get fruit, you need two tomatillo plants. The purple tomatillos look great on the vine, but that purple color can get a little muddy in cocktails. I actually prefer green varieties like ‘Toma Verde.’ There’s also a yellow variety called ‘Pineapple’ that is so sweet that you can make jam out of it.  (you can get several...

Read More


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

As with tomatoes, the trick to growing peppers for cocktails is to choose a variety that is small enough to fit in the glass as a garnish. It’s also important you actually like the pepper; there’s no point growing hot peppers if you can’t stand spicy cocktails. A good hot pepper variety to try is ‘Peguis,’ a heavy producer of large, green jalapeño-style peppers. For sweet peppers I like ‘Cherry Pick,’ a small, round, red pepper that matures early, making it a good option for chilly summers like I have in northern California. In any case, give peppers full sun and protection...

Read More


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

The tomato to grow in a cocktail garden, in my opinion, is a small and flavorful cherry tomato that you can muddle into a drink and also use a garnish. Cherry tomatoes also happen to be a little bit more tolerant of cooler temperatures, and they do better in containers and hanging baskets. You’ll be seeing more and more grafted tomatoes in garden centers this year, and if you haven’t tried one yet, I highly recommend that you do. The idea behind grafted vegetables is that a flavorful but somewhat finicky tomato can be grafted onto a sturdier tomato rootstock to help it resist disease and...

Read More

Homemade Elderflower Cordial

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Make This | 3 comments

Bring 4 cups sugar & 4 cups water to a boil, allow to cool Add 30 clusters of fresh elderflowers Add 2 lemons and 2 oranges, sliced Add 1.75 oz citric acid powder (optional) Let sit for 24 hours, then strain and keep refrigerated. Don’t feel like making your own? Check out St-Germain. Oh, and here’s a video! photo: Proven...

Read More

Mamani Gin & Tonic

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Drink This, Recipes | 2 comments

1.5 oz gin 2-3 fresh jalapeño slices (or, if you prefer, a milder pepper), seeds removed 2-3 sprigs cilantro or basil 2-3 chunks cucumber 1 chunk celery stalk 4 oz high-quality tonic water (Fever Tree or Q Tonic) 1-2 cherry tomatoes, along with a basil or cilantro leaf, on a pick for garnish Ice   Fill a mason jar, Collins glass, or short tumbler with ice.  In between the ice cubes, layer in a slice or two of pepper, a sprig of cilantro or basil, and a cherry tomato. In a cocktail shaker, combine the first five ingredients. Use a muddler or wooden spoon to gently crush the vegetables...

Read More

Lavandula Intoxicataea

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Drink This, Recipes | 1 comment

1 – 1.5 oz Dry Fly Gin, Aviation Gin, or Hendricks’ Gin.  (see note) 1 quarter fresh lemon 4 oz DRY Soda, lavender flavor A dash of Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters or Bar Keep Lavender Spice bitters Garnish options:  Fresh lavender sprig, Johnny jump-up (viola), pansy, borage blossom, or lemon twist Ice In a tall, skinny Collins glass or a short tumbler filled with ice, pour gin over ice.  Squeeze one lemon wedge over ice and drop into glass.  Top with Dry Lavender Soda and a dash of Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters. Garnish. Note:  1.5 oz is a serving of gin, but if you’d like to...

Read More

Champagne Mojito

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Drink This, Recipes | 10 comments

1 oz white rum .5 oz simple syrup  (see note) .5 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice 2-3 sprigs fresh spearmint 3-4 oz sparkling wine (A dry Spanish cava works well.  Segura Viudas is an excellent affordable option.  Please don’t use Cooks or another rock-bottom cheap brand) Fresh or frozen strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.  Fruit can be left whole, but if the strawberries are large, slice them. Crushed ice   Note:  To make simple syrup, heat equal parts sugar and water until the sugar melts.  Allow to cool.  Keep refrigerated and use within 1-2 weeks.  Don’t buy bottled...

Read More

La Vie en Elderflower

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 in Drink This, Recipes | Comments Off on La Vie en Elderflower

Serves 20.  1 750 ml bottle dry rose wine (not sparkling. Example: La Vieille Ferme rose, $8/bottle) 2.5 cups (20 oz) St-Germain elderflower liqueur 30 oz club soda Strawberry slice or raspberry for garnish Ice Mix the rose and St.-Germain in a pitcher—this can be done ahead of time.  Fill short tumblers or wine glasses with ice, add 2 oz of the rose/St-Germain mixture to each glass, and top with 1.5 oz club soda. Garnish with strawberry or raspberry. To quickly mix larger or smaller quantities, do:   5 parts wine 4 parts St-Germain 6 parts club soda   If serving in a...

Read More