Monday, April 1, 2013

The Drunken Botanist Giveaway

If you really like: Flowers, herbs, and plants in general; surprising and entertaining facts about fruit and bark and roots; mixing drinks and knowing what goes into them, and why; old-school bar-tending manuals revved up with wonderful, freshly-researched botanical esoterica; or just settling down to a good, well written and very informed read...

...then you will like The Drunken Botanist, by Amy Stewart. A lot. From jasmine to yuzu by way of opium poppies, sundews and birch - the plants that create the world's great drinks are described and eulogized, with plenty of cocktail recipes thrown in.

I asked Algonquin Books for a copy I could give away, here. It's a keeper. At 381 pages it is a significant little book, but snug in the hand and easy to slip into a bag for a furtive dip.

I have not met Amy, but I know her through our respective Internet adventures, am rather awed by her Social Media savviness, writing prowess (The Drunken Botanist is already very high on the New York Times best seller list and is an Amazon best book of the month) and her ability to hone in on and deliver fascinating subject matter.

Happily, she will be staying in our apartment for a few weeks while we are away in South Africa... I hope the terrace behaves itself. Yes, she knows all about our high maintenance cat. Yes, the liquor tray will be well stocked.

So - to be in the running to win a copy of this lovely book, please submit a brief liquid recipe: a botanically-inspired drink, naming the plant or plants involved. It can be straightforward (wine? beer?), or a mixed drink  using or based on herbs, fruit, flowers, seeds, bark or leaves.  It does not have to be alcoholic (syrups? lemonade?). It may be home made or store-bought, obscure or classic, invented or as old as the hills, and mixed with either great cunning or winning simplicity.

All nations free to play.

Drunken Botanist giveaway deadline: Tuesday, 2 April, 12pm EST. Winner announced Wednesday!


  1. Dear Marie,

    Hi! This is Ling from Singapore . I've been following your blog for sometime, only brave enough to stand up and be counted now :)

    Here's my recipe - just for a lark, but I'd love to share it with you anyway:

    Lemongrass, passionfruit and ginger tea

    3 stalks lemongrass, bashed and sliced at an angle
    Pulp of 3 wrinkly passionfruit
    1 to 2 inches of fresh ginger root, bashed
    Boiling water
    Orange blossom honey

    Place lemongrass, ginger root and passionfruit in a regular-sized cafetiere. Add water to fill cafetiere to the top, add honey to taste. I usually use 2 tsp. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, push filter through to agitate a little; compress and enjoy. Wonderful for after meals and when you feel a cold coming on...

    Thanks Marie!

    1. Thanks, Ling - I love your "bashed" instruction.

    2. An opportunity to get the meat mallet out and use it - I had originally typed "smashed", but I felt it lacked a measure of self-restraint (and there'd be stray bits shooting off in all directions)!

  2. Since I persistently have a glut of limes, I make a lime version of Limoncello. And then I like to make Limoncello martinis with it. Equal parts limoncello and vodka, shaken with ice, deposited into a lovely glass. Then I float a sprig of my fresh-picked thyme in it.

    Thanks for the chance to win such a great book. I have it on my list of books to read!

    1. Yum. I wish I had gluts of limes...

    2. Well, sometimes it's a little overwhelming! The husband and I will occasionally take 50 limes each to work. It's amazing how quickly they disappear. Everyone loves free, fresh, organic limes. I'm preserving some, thanks to your inspiration (with the lemons).

  3. My go to drink these days is a vodka gimlet. A couple shots of frozen vodka + a few tablespoons of lime juice. It would be yummy with a couple leaves of lemon mint. By the by I have my first outdoor space - some roof space in manhattan and am so inspired by your blog!! Can't wait to get growing.

  4. Marie!

    I love concocting botanical syrups, tinctures, etc for creative cocktailing (not really a verb i suppose). My bitters collection has a shelf of its own.

    A favorite is a handmade tamarind/ginger/lemon/organic sugar syrup shaken equal parts with bourbon - it's call a Buffalo Soldier - from the Keefer Bar in Vancouver.

    This weekend's cocktail was the Chrysanthemum - Dry Vermouth/Benedictine/Absinthe with an orange twist.

    Have you tried the Absinthe cocktails at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg?

    Barely spring in Calgary, but an tiny early harvest of garden chives for yesterday's devilled eggs.


    1. Cocktailing is a verb. Definitely.

      I have not tried the Absinthe cocktails at Maison Premiere. But I have become lightly addicted to Corpse Revivers...

  5. I follow your website everyday and thoroughly enjoy it! I was so exicted when I saw your botanically inspired cocktail recipe contest. This is right up my alley. I have a "cocktail garden" planted in my yard and love using the herbs to create new cocktails and simple syrups. Luckily I have a thirsty family that is always ready to be guinea pigs! I have had the Drunken Botanist on my wish list on Amazon since I first heard about it.

    Raspberry Thyme Refresher
    3 Fresh Raspberries
    1 sprig of thyme
    1/2 oz simple syrup
    3/4 oz lime juice
    1 oz St. Germain
    2 oz gin
    Muddle the raspberries and thyme in a cocktail shaker. Add simple syrup, lime juice, St. Germain, gin and ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.


  6. I always pick my Lemon Mint to put in Vodka and Tonic. Gives great flavoring!

  7. Lavender Lemonade
    3 cups granulated sugar
    3 cups water
    14 cup dried lavender
    4 cups fresh lemon juice (16 to 20 lemons)
    ice (serving)
    1 slice lemon (fresh lavender sprigs for garnish)
    In a medium pot over medium heat, combine 2 cups water, and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in honey and lavender. Cover and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain out lavender and press buds into the bottom of the strainer to release any syrup left behind.

    In a large pitcher, combine lemon juice, lavender syrup, and remaining water. Stir and chill. Serve cold, over ice.

  8. I'm Gisele, from Brazil. I guess caipinhinha is now well-known... Lemmon, cachaca (made from sugarcane) and ice. It tastes good, especially by the beach!

  9. I love these posts... For my drink, I would have to go with:

    3 very ripe pears, cored, skinned and chopped
    2 shots of vodka
    1 cup simple syrup or honey
    Dash of lime juice
    Ice (as desired)
    Leaves from a sprig of fresh rosemary (plus more, for garnish)
    A liberal pinch of poppy seeds (I spent the weekend making Slovak poppy seed and nuts rolls, so maybe you have some leftover ground poppy seed like me...)

    Place all in blender, then fill several 8 oz glasses halfway full, finish with sparkling water, stir and serve!

    From Katherine with love ... kskovira [at- gmail [dot- com

  10. Fire Water
    In a big shaker with lots of ice,
    Juice of 1 each lemon, lime,orange
    1/4 c crushed spearmint
    2T sriracha
    Optional: 3 shots good vodka
    Shake it up, strain and drink straight
    or 1/2 Fire Water 1/2 Seltzer over ice

  11. The Muskoka Bay (my invention)

    2 oz. Malibu Rum (coconuts, sugar cane, yes indeed)
    2 oz. Orange juice
    2 oz. Pineapple juice
    2 oz. Cranberry cocktail
    1 Fresh, sliced peach
    handful Wild blueberries (must be wild)

    Mix gently and pour over ice. Think summery thoughts.

  12. The best I can do is Very Low Carb Margarita. Invented when Adkins quit making syrups.

    1.5 oz tequilla
    1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice (or Nellie and Joe's, if you want)
    .5 oz Triple Sec
    1-3 maraschino cherries (1 if anyone is looking, otherwise ...)

    Mix first three ingredients together and pour over ice, or shake and drink straight up, with cherry(ies) added for sweetness. (The cherries actually push up the carbs, tho.) It makes a rather sour margarita, and I leave off the salt, but personal preferences are fine here. Yield: one drink

    The books sounds like great fun. Thanks for sharing.

  13. How about a Hot Scarlett O'Hara?

    Southern Comfort
    Cranberry Juice Cocktail
    Lime slices

    Mix the Southern Comfort and Cranberry Juice cocktail in your amounts.
    Warm slightly and pour into small cordial glasses.
    Squeeze a lime slice in and enjoy!

  14. Hi Marie,

    How about this one....

    Eccentric Old Fashioned (a bit like me)

    For the spiced apple and clove syrup:
    200g Bramley apple sauce
    200ml apple juice
    4 cloves, crushed
    1 tsp ground allspice

    For the cocktail:
    ! piece lemon zest
    3 dashes bitters
    15ml spiced apple and clove syrup, as above
    50ml ish single malt whisky
    orange zest to garnish

    For the syrup:
    Heat all ingredients in a pan until boiling. Reduce the heat until mixture is simmering and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
    Strain the mixture through a sieve and set aside to cool.
    Test the whisky.

    For the cocktail:
    Take the phone off the hook. Mix the lemon zest, bitters, spiced apple and clove syrup and whisky together, with a good handful of ice, in a mixing glass.
    Strain the mixture into a favourite tumbler and garnish with orange zest.

    1. lordy. i want to drink that.

    2. "Take the phone off the hook." Sage advice!!

    3. You have hidden talents, jelli :-) Hidden no longer!

  15. I also have a great Queimada recipe but it's not for the faint-hearted!

  16. Ok- this cocktail idea was given to me by my doctor, believe it or not. I have slightly modified it and given it a name. It sounds strange but it has become my favorite go-to drink for dinner party guests as it is a rather strong wine cocktail that easily segues into drinking wine with dinner afterwards. It is absolutely addictive!

    Sicilian Sunset

    1 part Cabernet Sauvignon
    1 part vodka
    1 part blood orange puree or juice
    a few drops homemade or store bought orange bitters

    Pour into cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, then pour into a martini or other cocktail glass. It's nice to garnish with a blood orange twist. Fabulous with Italian-esque hors d'oeuvres or antipasto!

    1. He sounds like my parents' GP :-)

  17. I use this syrup for coughs or to sweeten my teas!
    a knob of ginger
    1/4 cup squeezed lemon juice
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup honey
    I boil the sugar with water to a light carmel. then add grated ginger and lemon juice. The amount of ginger can be adjusted to taste, (alot is hot!)and lemon juice (more=sour) the honey is add after. I love the burnt carmel taste of the sugar.

    If pressed for time just boil the ginger,lemon juice in 2 cups of water and add sugar to taste.
    oops! dont forget to strain. Emmy Gee

  18. & for those who may want to try Becky's use of Limoncello, here is a recipe given to me by my friend Elena Nappa from Borgo Argenina.


    The zest of 14 lemons
    Pure alcohol 5 cups
    water 5 cups
    sugar 5 cups

    Peel the lemons (only the yellow skin without the white part inside) and put the zest in a jar with the alcohol. Keep it in a dark place for 20 days.
    20 days after, make a syrup with the water and the sugar, boiling the two ingredients for about 10 minutes and let it cool down.
    In the meantime, filter the alcohol, that by now has taken the lemon flavour, eliminate the lemon peels.
    Once the syrup is cold, mix it with the alcohol, and pour it in a nice bottle.
    Keep it in the fridge and serve with ice in a small glass to your guest.

    1. Can you believe I've never made limoncello :/

      Thank you!

  19. Alcoholic tincture/Nalewka
    Citrus pigwówka/quince tincture with aromatic spices

    1kg/2.2 lb quinces, peeled and sliced, weighed after peeling
    250g/9oz. dark runny honey
    50g/2oz dark brown sugar with molasses
    200g/7oz. light brown sugar
    1 1/2 l/50 oz.Aguardente (you can substitute vodka or brandy)
    250 ml/8 oz sweet Moscatel wine ( you can substitute Madeira or tawny port)
    2 sticks cinnamon
    juice and zest of 1 lemon peeled
    juice and zest of 1 orange peeled
    piece of fresh ginger 1 cm/1/2 inch peeled and sliced
    4 cloves
    mix the citrus (orange, lemon) the with honey and the two types of sugar, pour over the slices of quince, placed previously into a large jar. Add the citrus peel, cinnamon and cloves, cover it with a linen towel or cheese cloth and leave for 2-3 days on a sunny windowsill. Pour in the alcohol and leave it covered (make sure the lid is on tightly) in a dark place for about 2-3 months. Filter several times through fresh gauze and decant. The longer it stands, the better it tastes.
    Adapted from
    Is it possible to attach a photo to a post? Greetings Gabriela

  20. My favorite is Rosemary Lemon Drop Martinis:
    Make simple syrup and infuse with rosemary, mix with fresh squeezed lemon juice and vodka (I prefer Absolut, maybe because it reminds me of home - I grew up in Sweden)

    PS This is not my recipe - I originally got it from the Cooking Light website

  21. recipe:
    spend all day working in the garden. transplanting, weeding, pruning, grading, raking and so on.

    mix 1/4 glass freshly squeezed lime juice with 3/4 glass tonic water. drink. sit in a chair and look at the garden. don't look too hard. drink.

  22. Cardinale
    This is simple but delicious. My French father-in-law introduced me to the Cardinale.

    1 part black current syrup (or Creme de Casis)
    4 parts red wine (Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon)
    Garnish with an orange slice

    I don't add ice but you can.

  23. I gather with the time difference that I'm too late, but wanted to share this, anyway:

    Over the holidays some old friends got together.
    It was a particularly dark and stormy evening.
    They like rum.

    They were drinking The Dark & Stormy:
    2 ounces dark rum
    3 ounces ginger beer
    1/2 ounce lemon juice

    As the evening progressed, it was decided the drink needed a new name and became The Small Craft Warning.
    (Did I mention we had sailors about?)
    It came with a splash of Dram:
    2oz rum of choice
    3oz Ginger beer (we used Reed Jamaican ginger beer)
    Dash of Allspice Dram

    Should the storm persist, you can upgrade the warning (and thus, the drink) to The Mariner:
    1oz. very dark rum like Black Seal
    1oz. Cognac (Hennesey, if possible)
    0.5 oz Cointreau
    Couple dashes of orange bitters
    Add a strip of orange rind




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