Garden Apertif with The Drunken Botanist


For the botanically inclined, shaking up a summer cocktail might bring to mind a saying: behind every great drink, there is a great plant. While many of us are familiar with some of the more common plants in our favorite aperitifs; grapes in a wineglass, hops in a pint of beer, or juniper in a cold gin and tonic, writer and longtime gardener Amy Stewart was so interested in some of the lesser-known plant-to-cocktail connections that she wrote a book on the subject, and one that we haven't wanted to put down since we got our hands on it.

Known to others of us as the liquor store, The Drunken Botanist takes us through what Amy calls "the world's most exotic botanical garden", sharing plant connections, histories, growing tips and, of course, recipes for bringing trees, flowers, berries, and herbs from the garden into your favorite cocktails.

Inspired by her multitude of ideas, we recently mixed up a spiked spritzer with the season's first strawberries from the farmer's market. More method than recipe, Amy's original idea called for mint, but the rosemary in our herb garden looked so tempting that we took the liberty of switching things up, and we highly recommend taking a look at your garden and doing the same.

A Spiked Strawberry Spritzer, adapted from The Drunken Botanist

1.5 ounces white rum
Handful of strawberries
Bit of lime juice and simple syrup
Splash of Velvet Falernum (optional)
Soda or sparkling wine
Rosemary for garnish

Muddle the rum with strawberries and add lime juice and simple syrup to taste. If you want to get fancy, add a splash of Velvet Falernum, then serve over ice, topped with soda or sparkling wine.

The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart (Algonquin). Copyright © 2013.

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