I'm loving Emily Han's new book "Wild Drinks and Cocktails". She sent me a review copy and I am happy to say: I am thrilled to have it in my collection of cookbooks! It’s filled with all the detailed information one needs to create drinks from both the wild and cultivated plant realms. The 100 enticing recipes feature a broad range of plants, such as the familiar apple, apricot and citrus; to the less utilized, yet common dandelion, evergreen, and wood sorrel; to the more exotic pomegranate, prickly pear, and shiso. Emily explores the world of hand crafted syrups, squashes, shrubs, switchels, oxymels, bitters, and more. While the book emphasizes spirited drinks, it also offers “virgin” options. If you’re into making your own natural beverages, enjoy crafting in the kitchen, or want to expand your forage-to-glass repertoire, I highly recommend this book.
As some of you may know, I hold rose hips in high regard. Emily kindly shared her Rose Hip Syrup that can become Rose Hip Whiskey Mash with us:
Rose Hip Syrup
ROSE HIPS ARE THE BERRY-LIKE FRUITS THAT DEVELOP AFTER ROSES drop their petals. They’re so high in vitamin C that when Britain was experiencing citrus shortages during World War II, the ministry of health sent volunteers out to the hedgerows to gather valuable rose hips for syrup making. (Vitamin C is essential to a healthy diet: it prevents diseases like scurvy, may boost the efficiency of the immune system, and is important for the growth and repair of tissues, including bones and skin.) Rose hips are tastiest after a frost, which sweetens their flavor. To process them, cut the hips in half, remove the hairy seeds, and dry the skins for year-round use in teas, syrups, elixirs, compotes, and jellies.
2 cups (400 g) fresh rose hips
2 cups (470 ml) water
1 cup honey (340 g) or sugar (200 g)
Rinse the rose hips to remove dirt, and trim away any stems or leaves (it’s okay to leave the tops on). Lightly crush the rose hips using a potato masher or rolling pin. Combine the rose hips and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and crush the rose hips with a potato masher or another mashing tool. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids. Measure the liquid; you should have about 1 cup (235 ml). Return the liquid to the saucepan and add an equal volume of honey or sugar (about 1 cup [340 or 200 g]). Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Strain through a cloth or coffee filter to catch any little hairs, which can irritate the digestive system. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
YIELD: ABOUT 1 CUP (235 ML)
Variation: Whole dried rose hips can be substituted for fresh ones: use 11⁄4 cups (100 g) instead. They’re usually too hard to crush by hand in the same way as fresh rose hips, but a food processor or mortar and pestle can do the job well. To substitute dried rose hips that have already been cut and sifted, use 3⁄4 cup (60 g) instead of 11⁄4 cups (100 g).
Rose Hip Whiskey Smash
IT’S A DISTANT COUSIN OF THE MINT JULEP, BUT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT: this Rose Hip Whiskey Smash is so much more exciting. Because the combination of rose hip and mint is one of my favorites when it comes to tea, I decided to put them side by side in a cocktail, too. And I’m glad I did, because pairing them with bourbon and orange is pure magic. You’ll get the best results if you use blood orange, which brings a rosy color to the drink, plus a subtle berry flavor that’s a nice match for the rose hips.
3 orange wedges (preferably blood orange)
1 ounce (30 ml) Rose Hip Syrup (page 64)
4 to 6 fresh mint leaves
2 ounces (60 ml) bourbon
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
Muddle the orange wedges with the Rose Hip Syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the mint leaves and lightly bruise with the muddler. Add the bourbon and ice and shake well. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with the mint sprig.
YIELD: 1 SERVING
“Recipe reprinted from Wild Drinks & Cocktails by Emily Han, with permission from Fair Winds Press, copyright 2015”
To connect with Emily Han check her website http://emilyhan.com; Facebook @rootsandmarvel; Instagram @misschiffonade and Twitter @misschiffonade