My cosmic twin Julianne (born the day after me, the same year, also in the Midwest) has turned her skills as a natural perfumer to mixing up botanically-based cocktails. We worked our way through a sampling of her vodka infusions the other evening, going from Chocolate Mint (using the mint variety, soothing to drink neat), Basil-Black Pepper-Yuzu (a green, yet citrusy brew), Lemon Verbena (bright clean citrus taste) to my favorite Angelica Vodka. I’d never tasted Angelica, a celery-like herb that’s used in Chartreuse. I had visions of a marvelous Bloody Mary.
But Julianne’s stroke of brilliance is the use of dilutions, tiny bottles made from essential oils that she also blends into perfumes. They add a scent/taste of things like coriander, peppercorn, jasmine, pettigrain (from the green stems of the bitter orange) and yuzu. A mere drop in a cocktail adds an intriguing, undefinable something, in much the same way as bitters. Pettigrain goes into Julianne’s Summer Crush cocktail, shaken with Lemon Verbena Vodka and passion fruit nectar.
Her other summer discovery—kicking sparkling drinks made with floral/herbal waters like rosewater, orange blossom and rosemary, added to a tall glass of seltzer.
The experiments will continue into the winter, with other herbs and veggies from Julianne’s garden. She’s got a notebook full of ideas and will no doubt be chronicling them on her web site, Alchemologie.