This just absolutely cracked me up! Sister Ann writing for her local paper. You’ll find links to Annie’s blog and Alice’s Log House Plants right here. On the Log House website, you’ll find a list of nurseries that carry Alice’s stuff.
Lovejoy for Kitsap Sun April 27, 2013
Plant Now For Spirited Summer Drinks
Last month, garden writer Amy Stewart presented gardeners with yet another intriguing book. Author of Wicked Plants (about toxic and psychotropic plants) and The Earth Moved (about worms), Stewart delights in offering new slants on age old topics.
Stewart’s latest effort is The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks. Inspired by such liquid delights as Margaritas and Mint Juleps, she offers stories, garden tips, and 50 recipes for would-be mixologists.
Stewart’s research fascinated Alice Doyle, co-owner of Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Among the Northwest’s premier wholesale plant growers, Log House Plants is famous for pioneering numerous horticulture trends, from informative plant labels to grafted vegetables. Thus, it’s not surprising that Doyle and Stewart teamed up to create a series of Drunken Botanist plant collections.
For example, if you are fond of using simple syrups in mixed drinks, you will want to grow the Mixologist collection. This assortment includes Orange Mint, Lavender Grosso, and Thai Basil, all excellent culinary forms that belong in the kitchen as well as the drinks cupboard. It also contains Agastache Golden Jubilee, a fragrant and flavorful perennial that is extremely attractive to bees and hummingbirds. Experimental cooks will also find plenty of uses for the perfumed foliage of Attar of Rose scented geraniums, and Angelica, a tasty and sweet scented biennial long candied for cake decorations.
Those who prefer whiskey cocktails could plant the Southern Belle Whiskey Garden. This includes the inevitable mint, though in superior form (Mint Kentucky Colonel), as well as German Chamomile, English Thyme, and French Tarragon.
If you like zippier drinks, yours is the Heart of Agave Tequila Garden, featuring savory Grower’s Friend Sage, Jalapeno Peguis Peppers, Golden Midget Watermelons, Margarita Mint, and Arp, a very hardy rosemary.
There’s also an Old Tom Gin Garden, with special forms of borage, basil, and thyme, along with Lemon Cucumbers. This set also includes my favorite Mexican Sour Gherkins, a wiry little scrambler Rachel Ray called the most important new vegetable in decades. These tiny, tart little cucumber relatives are delicious in salads and when pickled, are popular in drinks where you might use pickled onions. They look and taste a bit like watermelon, and are sometimes called watermelon cukes.
But wait, there’s more! The Old Havana Rum Garden celebrates Columbus’ discovery of sugarcane, a tropical grass that is a key ingredient in rum. This combo lets you partner rum with amazingly tangy golden alpine strawberries, lemon grass, lemon verbena, or Cuban Mohito Mint, all of which will earn their way into many a meal.
The Farmers Market Vodka Garden collection pairs cute little Red Currant Tomatoes with Fireball and Cherry Pick Peppers, all excellent varieties. This set also includes Slow Bolting Cilantro, which carries on long after ordinary cilantro has gone to seed, and Redventure Celery, a lovely creature with pinky-red stems that are delightfully crisp.
Even if you don’t imbibe, you can use these ingenious kits to make refreshing shrubs, combining various vinegars, fresh herbs, fruit or vegetables with sparkling water. These classic drinks were enormously popular in pioneer and Victorian times and are enjoying a renaissance in trendy bars today. Instead of a Shirley Temple, try apple cider vinegar, muddled raspberries, lemon balm and tonic. Or mix spicy, non-alcoholic ginger beer with crushed mint, a little jalapeno pepper, and chopped cucumber.
The possibilities are endless and make for splendidly different picnics and potlucks. If your local nursery doesn’t carry Log House Plant collections, check their website for the nearest retailer.
Log House Plants