The Drunken Botanist

I have been watching the buzz on this book for a while and waiting for it to emerge into pages. I will honestly say that  I thought it sounded fun, but was not really  sure if it was a book I  would go out and buy.

The title evokes images of an old movie set. The dark stone walls of a  castle dungeon and distillery equipment steaming with fragrant concoctions…but I digress.
I am a fan of the author, Amy Stewart and have all of her previous books, so it might have been just a purchase as a fan and not necessarily of the subject matter.

webDrunken-Botanist-high-resBut of course, Amy you had me at the aperitif, as most good beginnings should.

This is not a tale of a curmudgeonly old botanist,who is more interested in pistils and stamens while imbibing too much.
The Drunken Botanist is much more fun. Who knew that walking into a liquor store would inspire a garden writer. Everything on the shelves is rooted in botanical history, from hops in beer to the nectar of Agave. The book is a historical exploration how plants return to us in another formulation.  Herbs, grains, veggies,  and exotic plants have for centuries given us medicine, remedies, food and flavorings this book gives you a look at the fermented side of plants.
Even if the  study of liqueur isn’t your thing,  the botanical journey is  definitely worth the read. Cheers!

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Amy’s garden, colorful and edible…or should I say drink-able!  On right: peppers, celery, basil, strawberries, Calendula, cucumber, lemongrass….photo courtesy of Amy Stewart.

Go Local: If you are in Tacoma-check out  our very own craft cocktail lounge.  www.1022south.com

Local lecture from Amy: March 27th at Powell’s books in Portland, Oregon  and  March 28th at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. Washington. More events listed at www.amystewart.com.

Free Book : I have a copy of The Drunken Botanist from Amy and am giving it away. NAME THAT PLANT! What Pacific Northwest native fern would you steep in water to create a bitter cocktail syrup that hints at a licorice-flavor mixed with orange water. Post a comment here, on Facebook or stop by Urban Garden Company in downtown Tacoma to drop off your answer. One of the correct answers will be drawn randomly. Hurry and answer by March 31st, the winner will be drawn April 1st.


9 responses to “The Drunken Botanist

  • Diana Goings

    POLYPODIUM GLYCYRRHIZA: Licorice Fern

  • Jennifer Martin

    I think it is the Licorice fern Polypodium glycyrrhiza – 🙂

  • Sue Goetz

    Licorice fern is a good guess, but it is the rhizome of Licorice fern that is flavorful and not in a candy sort of way! I am looking for a fern that the leaves and stems have the flavor. Anybody want a hint? The orange water is a classic ingredient in the syrup.

    • Diana Goings

      Thank you Sue, I needed that hint, I think you might be talking about : Sweet Fern – Comptonia peregrina. It’s such a cute plant too! I would love to grow one in my shade garden.

  • Diana Goings

    Thank You Sue, for Taking me on this “Fern Journey” Today. So many Cute Ferns out there. I had no Idea how many of them are actually edible.
    Now officially Changing my Guess up above. My new Answer is:

    Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum aleuticum

    • Jennifer Martin

      I think Diana is right – maidenhair fern … to make capillaire syrup, if that’s which syrup you are referring too.

  • Diana Goings

    I went to a Log House Plants presentation last week. A really nice slide show on Gourmet Veggies and Log House’s featured “Drunken Botanist Collection of Plants. They have partnered with Amy and are selling 6 packs in different catagories. The Gin mix, The syrup mix, Swizzle Sticks (like Celery), etc. So fascinating, and now I am really wanting to see the Book! The plants are sold at many area nurseries that carry Log House Plants. Call your local nurseries, or check out the Log house Plants webpage.

  • Sue Goetz

    Congrats to our winner, an entry at the shop. Thanks for all the guesses too!

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