Wednesday, May 6, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Happy hours in the garden: Grow your own cocktails

By
From page A7 | March 22, 2013 |

Hop plants, which are vigorous climbers, can be trained to grow on fences and trellises. Hop seed cones shown here can be used to stabilize and flavor beers in the brewing process. High-spirited gardeners are transforming their plants into beers, cocktails and liqueurs. AP photo

This October 2, 2012 photo shows Hop plants, which are vigorous climbers and can be trained to grow on fences and trellises, like these alongside a vineyard in Langley, Wash. Hop seed cones shown here can be used to stabilize and flavor beers in the brewing process. High-spirited gardeners are transforming their plants into beers, cocktails and liqueurs. (AP Photo/Dean Fosdick)

By Dean Fosdick

Gardening can be an intoxicating hobby, especially if the botany is booze-related.

Consider the possibilities: grapes fermented into wine, corn distilled into bourbon, hops used to flavor beer and fruit to sweeten liqueurs.

Why run to a liquor store when you can savor the harvest from your own cocktail garden?

Three processes are involved in converting plants into serviceable drinks: fermentation, distillation and mixing, according to Amy Stewart, author of the new book “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks” (Algonquin Books).

“Virtually anything that produces sugar — fruit and grains — can be used distilled, fermented or drunk,” Stewart said in an interview. “Most people get involved with the mixers.”

Fermenting — adding yeasts to turn plant sugars into alcohol — came first, she said. High-proof beverage alcohol (20 percent and above) came later with distillation, or heating fermented liquids into a vapor and then re-condensing that into a more concentrated mix.

A cautionary note: It’s illegal to distill anything in the United States without a license.

“You can ferment but you can’t distill without the feds knocking on your door,” Stewart said.

In addition, know your plants. “Understand what you’re doing if you’re out there gleaning,” Stewart said. “A lot of plants become solvents when mixed with alcohol. Don’t pick anything that might become potentially deadly.”

A dizzying array of plants has been converted into alcohol over the ages, everything from agave (tequila) to yams (beer and vodka). Many plants are used primarily as garnishes, such as spearmint (mint julep), olives (martini) and cherries (Manhattan).

The marketplace is untapped for this emerging type of niche gardening, said Tim Russell, a spokesman for Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, Ore. Territorial is teaming with Stewart to sell a cocktail-friendly line of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers.

“A lot of young people are looking to do cooler things in their gardens like grow their own cocktail ingredients,” Russell said. “We’re hoping this will draw them further into gardening.”

The average liquor bottle contains a great deal more than straight alcohol, Stewart writes.

“Once a spirit leaves the still, it is subject to endless experimentation with herbs, spices, fruits, nuts, bark, roots and flowers,” she said. “Some distillers claim to use over a hundred different botanicals in their secret recipes.”

So if distillers are continuing to experiment, why not gardeners?

Stewart’s garden-themed recipes can be the foundation for:

* Infused vodkas. Fill a clean jar with fruit, herbs or spices and then add vodka. Seal, store and sample until your taste buds tell you it’s ready to drink.

* Homemade grenadine. Peel a half-dozen pomegranates, leaving the seeds and membranes intact. Squeeze and filter until you’ve made about two cups of juice. Pour that into a saucepan, add 1 to 2 cups of sugar, simmer and stir in an ounce of vodka, which acts as a preservative. The syrup should be good for about a month.

* Maraschino cherries. Clean and pit a small batch of fresh, sour cherries. Loosely fill a Mason jar with the cherries and cover with brandy or bourbon. Seal the jar and refrigerate. Use them in drinks or over ice cream.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

With collective’s help, you can fix it yourself at Bike Forth

By Bob Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New chemistry building in the works at UCD

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Kids get a peek at the great outdoors

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Heidrick Ag History Center rebranded as California Agriculture Museum

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
BeerFest expands to include cider

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

May 11 talk focuses on clean water

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
‘From Age-ing to Sage-ing’ guides library group

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Crossing lines, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
’12 Angry Men’ will screen Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pet Food Express organizes Save a Kitten fundraiser

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Retirees to hear about Woodland’s shade tree campaign

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Round up at the registers for Davis schools

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

Origami lovers will meet at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Earth-centered author comes to Avid Reader

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Breast cancer treatment update offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
MIND Institute lecture will focus on prenatal exposure to insecticide

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Pence Gallery: We’re overflowing with gratitude

By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Health care documentary will screen at meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Who is Ralph Hexter? Chancellor’s No. 2 fills us in

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
.

Forum

Injection wells endanger our aquifers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

 
New book flows with good news about water

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4 | Gallery

.

Sports

Aggies go flat in 7-1 Sacramento State win at Raley

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devils crush Edison to earn McClatchy rematch

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devils grind out a victory over Oak Ridge

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis boys dominate first playoff match

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Alliance/Legacy roundup: Local squads fare well over the weekend

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AYSO roundup: Davis teams capture Fog Classic crowns

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Sac Ballet presents Modern Masters on May 8-9

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

 
High school artists exhibited at Pence Gallery

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
See Christian Quintin’s paintings at Hattie Weber Museum

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble returns

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Davis Youth Flute Choir tunes up for China tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B5