A dear friend recently released a wonderful book and I’m SO excited to be able to share it with you. Emily is my Food Swap Network co-founder and a long-time friend who has served as an inspiration to me for years. You may recall my visit with her in L.A. a couple years back detailed here, here and here.
Her debut book, Wild Drinks & Cocktails, is a total gem. This very informative guide to foraging and wildcrafting all sorts of interesting beverages, both alcoholic and non, is beautifully photographed and packed with amazing recipes. Her years of researching and teaching about these subjects makes this book an essential read for the herbal curious and skilled herbalist alike. The methods and techniques are solidly useful and applicable to any botanicals, aromatics and ingredients you find in your own environment.
Last week Emily and I met up in San Antonio, her hometown, where she was visiting from L.A. We went for a hike and discovered a bounty of juniper berries that were perfectly purple and ripe for the picking. I took home a little basket of berries with festive plans for Emily’s recipe for Winter Gin on the mind.
Emily reminded me that juniper berries have long been used medicinally for kidney stimulation, urinary tract infections, indigestion, inflammation, and for colds and flu. Cheers to your health when you sip this herbal infusion!
NOT everyone loves the fact that gin can taste like a Christmas tree, but as someone who treasures the time she spends in conifer forests, I adore it. And this compound gin embraces the Christmas tree spirit full-on. In it, the juniper berries are infused for longer than they are in the Summer Gin on page 114, then they’re topped with a fragrant sprig of white fir (Abies concolor) and warm, wintery herbs and spices. (If there’s no white fir in your area, substitute another local conifer, such as pine or spruce.) Wrap yourself in a flannel blanket, light the fire in your log cabin, and pour yourself a restorative dose.
2 tablespoons (10 g) juniper berries
1 bottle (750 ml, or 31⁄4 cups) vodka
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon dried, cut, and sifted orange peel
3-inch (7.5 cm) sprig fresh white fir or 1⁄2 sprig dried
1-inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick
1 whole allspice berry
1 dried sage leaf
1⁄2 dried California bay leaf or 1 dried Turkish bay leaf, torn into pieces
Place the juniper berries in a quart (1 L) jar. Pour the vodka into the jar. Cap the jar tightly. Let it stand for 12 hours. Add the rest of the ingredients to the jar, cap it, and let it stand for 36 hours.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter or flour sack cloth to remove all fine particles; discard the solids. Bottle and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
YIELD: 3 1/4 CUPS (750 ML)
NOTE: As with the Summer Gin recipe on page 114, your homemade compound gin will be darker in color than commercial distilled gin; expect it to be yellow or golden.
Wildcrafting Tip: Juniper “berries” are actually little cones—like pinecones—and should be harvested when they’re ripe, having turned from green to dark blue or purple. Not all species of juniper are suitable for consumption. Juniperus communis is the most commonly used species. Avoid savin juniper (J. sabina) and prickly juniper (J. oxycedrus). Research other species before using them in recipes.
Emily’s publisher is kindly offering up a copy of the book to HGGH readers, and guess what? They’ll send the book anywhere in the world. Friends from near and far, please do enter! I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I already do.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosures: I received a copy of this book at no cost to me and the winner will receive a copy directly from Fair Winds Press. My opinions about the book are not influenced by this arrangement. There are a couple links to the book above that mean Amazon will deposit a fraction of the proceeds from the sale into my bank account, which helps me continue to run the site and post new recipes and projects. You are welcome to buy the book in any way that makes you happy!