Spring is just around the corner. Actually, it started yesterday, but I woke up to freezing temperatures this morning so it doesn’t feel very spring-like. Nonetheless, this time of year I start thinking about Japanese knotweed, one of my favorite wild edibles. Its pink color and tart flavor make it the perfect ingredient for a foraged twist on a whiskey sour. I named this cocktail The Samurai Sour because originally I used Japanese knotweed and Japanese whisky*. But Japanese whisky can be expensive, so feel free to use any whiskey (blend or single malt) you have on hand. Read more
Limoncello is a classic Italian liqueur traditionally served ice cold as a digestive, after dinner. Frankly, I think it’s tasty enough to drink anytime. The recipe comes from southern Italy and calls for true lemons, but I like to use Meyer lemons instead. I’ve done some experimenting over the years and come up with two very different recipes that produce two very different liqueurs. If you try them both, please let me know which one you like better! Read more
This was a killer year for stone fruit in Santa Fe, and I harvested loads of apricots, plums, nectarines, and peaches. After making jams, jellies, chutneys, salsas, and dried fruit, I was left with a big pile of pits, so I shoved them in the freezer, thinking there MUST be something I could do with them.
Did you know that almond extract is NOT made from almonds? It’s the apricot kernels inside the pits that give almond extract its flavor, so I decided to infuse some booze with my apricot kernels. Thus was born a new cocktail: The Almond Joy. It’s a spirit forward, slightly sweet adult beverage, named after one of my favorite candy bars. Read more
What exactly is a bounce? Rumor has it that cherry bounce was one of George Washington’s favorite tipples, and Martha’s recipe for the beverage survives to this day. In this foraged version, I’ve substituted chokecherries for cultivated cherries, and rye for the more traditional brandy. And while many bounce recipes are heavily spiced with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, I’ve kept it simple with just three ingredients. Once you’ve made the base infusion, you can enjoy it any way you’d like: poured over a single large ice cube, sipped neat from a coupe, combined with a sploosh of seltzer, or garnished with a few Luxardo cherries. Any way you drink it, Chokecherry Bounce is an exceptional adult beverage. Read more
I never know what to call this kind of beverage. A cordial? A soda? To some people, the word cordial means a liqueur, but this drink is alcohol-free. And the word soda brings up mental images of two-liter bottles of Coke (at least to me!), so that’s not right either. This is an effervescent, naturally fermented, non-alcoholic beverage that will knock your socks off. So I’m calling it Queen Anne’s Lace Tonic, and here’s how you make it. Read more
Usually, coming up with the perfect cocktail name is harder for me than coming up with the perfect cocktail. Not this time. This time the name came to me in a flash. As I picked both the berries and the milkweed flowers, I was painfully aware that I wasn’t the only mammal leaving foot prints in this field. Hence…the Bear Bait tequila cocktail! Read more
Every June I look forward to making elderflower champagne, but this year constant rain has washed away the elderflower pollen, with its natural yeasts and fragrance. If there’s no scent, I don’t bother. Fortunately, milkweed stands up to our wet weather, and the color, scent, and flavor of this milkweed flower cordial are outstanding, rain or shine!
Ok. I didn’t get this posted in time for May Day. So sue me. But since sweet woodruff (aka Galium odoratum) is plentiful all summer long, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy this infusion any time of year. May wine is made by steeping sweet woodruff in white wine. Drying the herb before infusing it concentrates the flavor of the woodruff and accentuates its lovely, hay-like scent, full of sweetness and vanilla.
While most people think of nocino as a traditional Italian digestif, the recipe actually originated in Britain. The Picts (a Celtic tribe from Scotland), were known to become euphoric after drinking it, and I get that. They harvested green walnuts at the summer solstice, and at the same time celebrated the new green walnut harvest by drinking the previous year’s brew. Legend has it that the Romans took the recipe for nocino back to Italy when they left Britain behind. Read more
I am not a tea drinker. I have nothing against it, but coffee is my go-to, hot beverage. But yesterday afternoon my thoughts turned to chai, maybe because it’s been cold and we got a late snow, maybe because I was in need of something warm and comforting, or maybe just because it was tea time. Once I realized that chai masala simply means tea blend, that opened up a world of possibilities. Freed from the recipes based on tropical spices, I came up with my own, foraged chai masala. It’s freakin’ amazing.