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Sonoma County Gazette
Sparkly Strawberry Lemon-Drop

Drinking Your Garden -
Luscious Libations for Summertime Cool

Jun 26, 2017
by Kellen Watson, Daily Acts


“Ah summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it!”  —Russell Baker

Well one thing is certain – summer is finally here, bringing with it an abundance of nature’s delicious treats fresh from our gardens. While some of us may relish all that vitamin D, there are plenty who escape indoors once the sun is high, choosing to tend their edibles in the mornings instead. But, what if there was a way to beat the heat and enjoy the bounty of your garden at the same time? Like any good practitioner of sustainable hedonism will tell you – where there is ripe fruit there is a drink waiting to be made! Here are just a few of my favorite recipes to encourage backyard relaxation (with or without the hammock) and keep you coolly wrapped in summer delight no matter the temperature.

Nourishing Shrubs & Drinking Tonics

Nothing provides more wonder and possibility than watching a seedling grow. Whoever said laughter was the best medicine has not tried a garden fresh shrub made with apple cider vinegar! Used for ages to stimulate circulation, aid digestion, detoxify the liver and improve immune system response to name a few, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is having a full blown revival lately inspiring garden fresh ferments that enhance the flavor and medicinal value too. Create your own concoctions that can be drunk on their own, mixed with sparkling water for a refreshing mocktail or added to a mixed drink for a tasty layer of complexity.


• 2 cups fresh fruit (Strawberries, cucumber and stone fruits are perfect this time of year)

• 1 cup raw honey (can substitute stevia or cane sugar)

• 1/4 cup herb leaves (mints, rosemary and lavender are good options)

• 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar (Braggs or other)

1) Combine fruit, herbs and honey in a bowl and muddle until some juice is expressed. A few favorite combos are cucumber mint, strawberry lavender or nectarine rosemary. Cover bowl and transfer into the fridge. Let it sit for one day.

2) Remove the fruit mix, muddle one more time, and then add the vinegar. Stir to integrate and dissolve the honey.

3) Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean Mason jar with a plastic lid.

4) Store the shrub mixture in the refrigerator. Allow 1 week for the flavors to meld, before enjoying. Shake before using.

Killer Kombucha Cocktails

This fermented tea has been promoted as a health conscious elixir for its ability to aid digestion, restore gut health, clear the mind and stabilize your mood. But did you know that it also tastes great with booze, making it a rather healthy alternative to the average sugary store bought mixer. If you do not already make your own, never fear – there are plenty of garden infused flavor combinations on the market today from blueberry to apricot, pomegranate to cucumber mint. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Sparkly Strawberry Lemon-Drop

• 2 oz. Vodka

• 2 oz. kombucha

• 1 oz. meyer lemon juice & peel

• ¼ cup strawberries

• Sugar

1) In a cocktail shaker or mason jar, muddle lemon juice and strawberries until berries are crushed, add vodka.

2) Meanwhile use a lemon peel to moisten the rim of the drinking glass and dip in sugar.

3) Pour into glass and top off with kombucha and a lemon peel for garnish!.

Refreshing Blackberry Basil Mojito

• 2 oz. Rum

• 2 oz. kombucha

• 1 oz. fresh lime juice

• 1 tsp honey (optional)

• ¼ cup blackberries

• 6 basil leave (plus a few sprigs for garnish)

1) In a cocktail shaker, muddle lime juice, basil, blackberries and honey until berries are crushed.

2) Fill glass 2/3 with cracked ice and pout in rum and berry mixture. Note – this can be strained if preferred.

3) Pitch in the squeezed-out lime shell and top off with kombucha and a fresh mint garnish!

Remember that any of these recipes can be enjoyed as mocktails and that much of the fruit combinations are interchangeable, the possibilities are really endless! If you’re looking for more healthy garden concoctions, check out Daily Acts’ Herbal Remedies Natural Medicine Making Workshop on July 8th. For more info and to register

Garden Delights by Kellen Watson


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