Posts made in February, 2013

DIY Bitters? Yes, Indeedy.

Posted on Feb 27, 2013 in Make This | 2 comments

I’m totally in love with these DIY kits for making your own bitters. The problem with making your own bitters is that some of the spices are expensive and difficult to track down. (You cannot get gentian root in the spice section at Safeway.) So this company called Dash Bitters has put kits together with infusion jars, bottles, funnels, cheesecloth, and assorted spices.   You, of course, should feel free to experiment and add your own secret botanical ingredients. I’m particularly intrigued with the 1889 Aromoatic Bitters Kit, and the Orange Hop Bitters Kit. and they sell...

Read More

Botanical Bacchanalia: The Drunken Botanist Book Tour Begins

Posted on Feb 26, 2013 in Events | 3 comments

I’ll be on the road all spring in bookstores, distilleries, bars, and other such dubious establishments.  Sometimes we’ll pour a cocktail, and sometimes we’ll be sharing & giving away cocktail-friendly plants for the garden.  Sometimes, as was the case where this photo was taken at Tales of the Cocktail, we’ll be doing some very scientific tasting.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Stops include San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Austin, Albuquerque, Miami, Boston, New York, Chapel Hill–and on it...

Read More

Shelving for Liquor Bottles, or, How I Got My Drinking Problem Under Control

Posted on Feb 20, 2013 in Make This | 2 comments

So! When one is researching a book on botany and booze, one is required to have at least one example of how every plant might possibly be fermented, distilled, and bottled. Which means that I have quite a few lovely bottles of stuff, and for a long time, I had nowhere to put them. Liquor bottles don’t easily lay flat in racks the way wine bottles do. For one thing, they’re all different sizes. And for another, you tend to open a liquor bottle and not drink it all at once. (at least, I hope you tend to do that.) And if you lay it on its side after it’s opened, it can leak. So...

Read More

Drinking Vinegars: The Other Kind of Shrub

Posted on Feb 13, 2013 in Make This | 2 comments

One day last year, a mysterious courier arrived at my house. (Okay, the courier was not so very mysterious. She was driving plants to my local garden centers from Oregon-based Log House Plants.) Anyway, she had a special delivery for me from Log House’s owner, Alice Doyle. A crazy-cool old leather case filled with drinking vinegars. Otherwise known as shrubs. I was to open the case, pour myself a drink, and call Alice. But first I had to choose my shrub. So drinking vinegars are basically homemade concoctions of vinegar, sugar, and some kind of plant matter. As you can see here, Alice...

Read More

Homemade Vermouth & Ratafia

Posted on Feb 11, 2013 in Make This | 1 comment

Pay attention, class!  We’re making homemade vermouth. (and if you want to do something easier, scroll down for a very quick ratafia recipe) The ingredient list is endless (but I will supply one in a minute)–what we need to cover first is the technique! Start with 2 bottles 750 ml bottle of dry white or rose wine.  (Surprise! Even sweet, red vermouth isn’t made with red wine.) Add something a little boozier.  Brandy, grape eau-de-vie, cognac, grappa, even port or sherry.  Vermouth is usually 16-18% alcohol, so we need something to proof this up. Now, are you using any...

Read More

The Cocktail Garden: The Unvarnished Truth

Posted on Feb 6, 2013 in Featured | 3 comments

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 designer...

Read More