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The Wildcrafted Cocktail

 
steward
Posts: 3383
Location: Maine, zone 5
1918
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I am in love with "The Wildcrafted Cocktail" by Ellen Zachos.  As a permaculturist you will drool at the pictures and be thrilled at the fantastic drinks you can make using ingredients from your forest garden....may be the reason that your neighbors will need to plant their own edible landscapes.  Just wait until you enjoy your first Silverberry Sour (silverberry, autumn olive or goumi), Sumac Spritzer (sumac, of course), Stinger in the Rye (nettles), Cascadian Sour (Oregon Grape), Dirty Lily Bud (Martini with a pickled daylily bud), Frozen Persimmon Margarita, Butterfly Kiss (milkweed flowers), Shohola Scofflaw (cornelian cherries and cherry plums), Rose Sip 75 (rose hips and sumac), Two Sisters (schisandra), Don't Sass Me and Kiss My Sass (both containing sassafras), Puff of Smoke (flowering quince fruit), Round the Mulberry Bush (I'll make you guess that star of that one), Anti-Pina Colada (pinapple weed), the Merry Woodsman (spruce tips, elderflowers, wild ginger) and on and on and on....so many drinks have been added to my bucket list (I didn't even know I had a mixed drinks bucket list, but now I'm certain that I do)!  Thank you Ellen :)
 
Greg Martin
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Forgot to mention the Sugar Bear (pawpaw and acorn).  Really wanted to get a pawpaw recipe listed too...and I love this drink's name!
 
Greg Martin
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Greg Martin
steward
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Location: Maine, zone 5
1918
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I'm in the middle of making elderflower champaign.  It uses elderflowers which provide yeast on their pollen, along with sugar, apple cider vinegar and lemons.  I'm thinking that I'd like to try and substitute sumac for the lemons next year....what do you guys think?  The elderflowers and sumac aren't ready at the same time so I'm wondering if dried sumac berries from the previous year would provide the same lemon punch as fresh.  If not then maybe frozen elderflowers or sumac to bring them together?  Opinions?
 
steward & bricolagier
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My opinion? Oh my I need this book! What a fun way to get my neighbors and family more interested in the odd plants I grow! I do not often drink, but my mom, who I live with, likes a small glass of wine as she reads in the evening, I bet she would be interested! I'm more a brewer than a drinker of what I brew.

I'm not certain what sumac berries taste like, but just being a bizarre cook type, I'd say freeze the sumac berries if you can, that would be the best flavor out of them, I can't imagine elderflowers being happy about being frozen, and you'd lose your wild yeasts. Dried berries would be below frozen for taste, you might have to add more of them than you'd guess at first to counteract the flavor loss.

Putting a book on my want list, thank you!!
Pearl
 
Greg Martin
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.

Just wanted to add my rating to get this on the book reviews list.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:I'm not certain what sumac berries taste like, but just being a bizarre cook type, I'd say freeze the sumac berries if you can, that would be the best flavor out of them



Sumac is a weird food, the "berries" are more like exposed seeds that get coated with a reddish sticky substance that is sour/tart and lemony.  Around here they wash/soak fresh bunches of sumac fruit in water to make (with sweetener) a sort of red lemonade type beverage.  I don't usually use much sumac because the world is full of sour flavors that are just another excuse to use a lot of sugar, but this one is both unique and delicious.  If I were trying to preserve the sumac flavor for an out-of-season cocktail, I think I'd concentrate as much as I could in a potful of water, boil it down, and make a strong syrup with sugar, which would then be pretty stable in the fridge for a long time, or could probably be pressure-canned for long-term storage.  But I'm theory-crafting; I haven't done it.

Another reason I don't use much sumac is that their stickiness attracts/collects dust and small bugs, so finding clean sumac to harvest in the (very short) season is tricky.
 
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