September 18, 2013

Mixology is Trending: 'Adult Drinks' using Slow Foods

Limoncello awaiting a taste test in a tall flask.

In the San Francisco area, #Mixology, the art and skill of preparing mixed drinks, 'is trending.'

Although it's fun to go out with my hubby to a hip new bar in downtown Oakland and browse a clever menu with interestingly named drinks containing slow food ingredients, it's cost prohibitive, $12 for 3 oz!  Yikes.

Being a bargain bride (my husband's semi-amusing pet name for me), I blend concoctions at home.  There are a few other reasons why I do it.
The ingredients for homemade tonic are clean, beautiful and aromatic.

  • Making cordials uses the fruits my neighbor kindly bestows, like the Meyer's lemons she leaves us occasionally.  (I can never have enough lemons.) 

Since I juiced all of our lemons and composted them, I didn't have the main ingredient for Limoncello.   (Here's another simpler recipe with beautiful photos.)

Then I read about how to make it on-line and realized that the main flavor in Limoncello comes from the grated rind in the liquor, and I realized my error.  Oops.  

Practically the next day I found K's plump lemons in a bag at the top of our sage-green concrete stairs in our front yard.  Perfect timing.  Got busy and made it.

  • Brewing 'mixers' utilizes edibles we growlike lemon verbena for Homemade Tonicor mint for Mojitos.

Booze isn't necessary with my tonic.  I enjoy the non-alcoholic version containing a splash of tonic, sparkling water, and a small amount of pure blueberry juice.  

I make my own tonic because most of the store-bought varieties contain controversial ingredients, which is too bad because the quinine from Cinchona bark is good for muscle aches.

  • I'm interested in the medicinal aspects of the plants in the concoctions I make.

According to Web M.D.

"Cinchona is a tree. People use the bark to make medicine.

Cinchona is used for increasing appetite; promoting the release of digestive juices; and treating bloating, fullness, and other stomach problems. It is also used for blood-vessel disorders including hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and leg cramps. Some people use cinchona for mild attacks of influenza, swine flue, the common cold, malaria, and fever. Other uses are for cancer, mouth and throat diseases, enlarged spleen and muscle cramps.  

Cinchona is used in eye lotions to numb pain, kill germs, and as an astringent. Cinchona extract is also applied to the skin for stimulating hair growth."  

It's safe for most people, but the side effects of too much cinchona are here.

  • Obtaining ingredients exposes me to new places and to new blogs.  

In my tropical green Ford Fiesta, I sped across the Bay Bridge to a store in the Mission District in San Francisco to obtain Cinchona bark.  I bought every package on the shelf.  I found out the place had it from a comment I read on-line.  All the herbal shops I called were out of it.  Hot commodity.

There are many wonderful blogs with Mixology ideas, but save  time.  I've collected recipes at my Pinterest board "Drinks for Adults."

Options other than beer and wine are nice occasionally.  

  • Last but not least, the expressions on the faces of our house-guests after tasting one of my unusual beverages makes the effort worthwhile. 

On a warm evening David, his cousin, their buddy from the old days when they were in high school, and I sat in our living room visiting.  I brought out a frozen bottle of Limoncello and served each person a shot of it in sipper glassware.  His friend's face lit up, and later, he wanted more.  


patricia said...

Your limoncello is delicious. Much better than the rocket fuel version that we made!

I'll also never forget the delicious sarsaparilla drink you concocted for our living history trip to Malakoff Diggins. It was the best thing ever over ice in the saloon on that very hot afternoon.

Kristin said...

Hi Tricia,

I liked your rocket version of limoncello. The taste was more authentic to the one I remember in the Cinque Terre area, Italia.

The Meyer's lemon vs. the kind of lemon you used really changed the flavor surprisingly, and of course the kind of liquor I used was milder.

That drink I made for our CA history camp was Sassafras and I shared the link in the post under 'medicinal aspects' but I will provide the link here as well in case you'd like to make it.

Always nice to hear from you here or at Intrinsic, my other blog.