Monday, December 2, 2019

Winter cocktails

I don't mind somber, when it comes to cold weather drinks. Brown is beautiful. The paler one above is 'Dear George' - based on applejack and Spicebush Cranberry Fizz. (But here is a holiday-red one, if you prefer bright).

As the seasons change, so do my cocktail and drink mixing habits. We eat differently, so why not drink differently? Tomatoes are gone, root vegetables and winter squash have taken their place. (And thank goodness for kale.) So, too, terrace-sipped gin and tonics are a strange memory. By 4PM the terrace is dark.

The citrusy character of spicebush - red when fresh, brown when dry - is limitlessly versatile, and seems made for winter. To make Spicebush Cranberry Fizz, a delicious and easy ferment and mixer I conjure in late autumn and winter for all kinds of drinks (and even cooking), you will need spicebush berries (technically, they are drupes, not berries). You will find its recipe in the link. You need fresh cranberries, too.

If you have not foraged and dried spicebush yourself you can buy it online from Integration Acres (Ohio) - above, with my spicebush gingerbread. They call it Appalachian allspice.

Also, if you have your own trees (large shrubs, small trees) you can substitute a bunch of the young twigs, scratched up to release the scent, for the infusion. The picture above shows the ground up, dried spicebush fruit with the twigs.

See Forage, Harvest, Feast (35% off right now, from my publisher) for much more about spicebush - Lindera benzoin. It is the utterly North American spice that almost no one knows, and has vast potential. I use it more than any other wild flavor. And go next door to 66 Square Feet (the Food) for the ferment recipe!



  1. Thanks for the link to buy it! Have not found it here, altho i am SURE it exists! Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

    1. Thank goodness for Integration Acres because I can't find other commercial resources for spicebush. I know that will change with time, but for now they are great. Otherwise, grow your own :-)


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