“A lot of people are surprised to hear about a healthcare provider who co-authored a book about booze,” says Garden Eats blogger Christine Dionese. “Herbs, rinds, seeds, flowers and leaves are the basis of the medicines I prescribe, and have been used to transform food and drink for centuries.”
Christine, a specialist in integrative medicine and food therapy, is talking about The Best Craft Cocktails & Bartending With Flair, the new recipe book she co-wrote with noted mixologist Jeremy LeBlanc, published by Page Street. (Coup alert: Currently available at the usual lit retailers, copies will soon be sold at Crate & Barrel and Kitson.)
The book’s recipes are charmingly written. “Our version of the disco nap when a pillow isn’t available,” Christine describes the restorative Revival Society on page 86, an herbal blast that includes borage, vermouth, citrus bitters, a calendula hydrosol and dry gin (Botanist Islay recommended). The book’s other handcrafted tipples include the Hello You (raw honey, rosemary, mescal, page 31), the King’s Cross No. 1 (a persimmon/citrus moonshine vehicle, page 92) and the Fernet Me Not (page 156), an aromatic tour de force of gin, Lillet Blanc, orange rind, orange liqueur and my personal sleepy-time favorite, Fernet Branca.
Where good health meets gratification is a theme you’ll also find on Garden Eats, the blog Christine co-founded with her mom Kath. Growing up in Rochester, NY, Christine says, “I was always around plants and food — my grandmother grew a garden to envy, and still does. My dad definitely inherited his mother’s kitchen talent and I owe it to him for passing on his knack for concocting the most unlikely ingredients. I have my mom to thank for instilling kitchen patience and consistency.”
Luckily for us, Christine now lives here in SD — where her adorable daughter Milan is known to make cameos on the blog — and recently visited The Horticult HQ to create an original seasonal cocktail. The “unlikely” ingredients in this one? Ultra-nutritious chia seeds combined with flowers from our feijoa guava tree, which is now in full, fragrant, bee-seducing bloom. The drink is delicious, floral and refreshing.
We present to you…
The Feijoa Drop
Feijoa gel garnish:
one sturdy strip of cucumber
1/2 tablespoon organic chia seeds
1/8-1/4 cup fresh feijoa guava blossom petals (newly opened flowers are best)
1-3 teaspoon water
In a high-speed blender, add petals and water. Blend until pureed. Scoop into a small dish, add chia and continue stirring until mixture thickens. Add more chia if necessary to thicken; chia is hydrophilic and sticky, so it will create a gel-like bond with the blossoms.
Shape a gel sphere with your fingers. Once shaped, place on the edge of the cucumber strip.
2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce violette liqueur
juice of one tangerine
3 thick cucumber slices
In a bar tin, muddle cucumber gently. Add gin, violette liqueur, tangerine juice and ice. Shake for 20 counts, strain and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with feijoa guava gel on cucumber strip.
To your health!