Herbal Innovations, of the Cocktail Variety

In the alchemist’s kitchen

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.

Absolute perfection, herbal dilutions for cocktails

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.  


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Molly says:

    Oooh, that all sounds amazing. I’ll take one of everything, please.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Notice that her inspiration for all of this came from the bartender at Barbes, http://barbesbrooklyn.com/, where they now how to pour a good drink and offer up an eclectic music menu. She’s friends with the owners. Small world, eh?

  3. Nice post, botanicals really aren’t used enough in cocktails, they really do add that little bit extra, it would be great to see them become more popular.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s