Herbal cocktail spritzers excite the taste buds, offer a refreshing treat on those humid summer days and are one of our favorite ways to use plants during the summertime.
They can be made as a mocktail or cocktail, depending on your personal preference and are always an enjoyable way to entertain guests or treat yourself while you lounge in the hammock with a good book.
One of the ways in which we create balanced boozy cocktails or mocktails is with bitters. Ingesting just a small amount of the bitter flavor stimulates healthy digestion and supports our overall body systems, and is a nice way to combat the summer drinking season with something that’s a little healthier (you don’t have to feel so guilty.)
We have been blending bitters for many years, experimenting with some of our favorite local herbs and with a few worldly exotics. Overall we believe in the power of bitter flavor across the culinary experience—in cocktails for sure, but also they also have a place in our teas, soups, salads and liquid extracts.
Here are a few simple recipes that we enjoy throughout the hot summer months.
They are cooling, dazzling in flavor and contain herbs and medicines we can find in our everyday kitchens and gardens. We like to switch it up and alternate between our traditional cocktail recipes, and non-alcoholic mocktail recipes when we want a night off.
The Bitters Spritz
A twist on the classic Italian aperitivo or Aperol spritz which was a cocktail made with bitters to aid digestion. […]
One of the big lessons I learned from studying medicinal plants is that, when a health concern isn’t an immediate emergency, it is better to focus on supporting the living human than trying to control one piece or another of the physiology.
So, for example, we use gentle infusions made with herbs like catnip and elderflower for children’s seasonal challenges instead of drugs that might reduce fever or suppress the secretion of mucus. It is often the case that over-the-counter and prescription medications, useful as they are, come at our bodies using a drug-like mentality: find the most obvious problem, and hit back at it hard. I can’t argue that this approach has been incredibly successful in a range of situations, notably acute infection, life-threatening autoimmune inflammation, shock, and acute cardiovascular events – but that doesn’t, by extension, mean that this drug-like mentality is the only approach, or that it should be the first approach in any given situation. In many cases, the herbalist’s approach of support over control makes a lot of sense.
Nowhere is this perhaps more clear than in the way we address occasional heartburn. There are a few options to choose from: regular antacids like Tums or bicarbonate, digestive bitters, H2 receptor blockers like Zantac, and proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec, to name just a few. The proton pump inhibitors are by far the most prescribed type of heartburn and acid reflux medication: in fact, these are the fourth top-selling prescription in the United States, with over 15 million monthly prescriptions. By some estimates, over 20% of the population is taking a […]
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases heartburn is not caused by too much stomach acid, but too little.
Although we feel heartburn in our chest area, the actual root of the problem lies in our stomach and digestive system. Without help from our digestive enzymes and digestive juices, our body doesn’t get the essential nutrients it needs for healthy immunity, healthy bone development, and a balanced nervous system. These fluids are essential in making sure that our entire system is running smoothly. And they are the key to understanding heartburn.
After we swallow our food it passes through the esophagus into the stomach, and a valve made of muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, closes, preventing both food and the acid produced in the stomach to move back up. Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter is forcibly pushed open (by overeating), relaxes inappropriately, or is weak, allowing for stomach acid from your stomach to work its way into your esophagus. The result is usually irritated tissue and discomfort.
The straightforward and holistic approach is to soothe the tissue, improve diet and support proper function of digestive muscles and digestive juice secretion.
Much of what is out there conventionally (like antacids) turns off or neutralizes the production of stomach acid. We need that acid to digest and assimilate our food properly! So it doesn’t heal the root of the problem, it only temporarily fixes the symptoms. Thankfully some solutions help both short term and down the road.
In Vermont, we look forward to summer all year. There’s nothing like those first few weeks of hot sunshine that make us grateful to live in this lush and green paradise. The warm weather inspires all sorts of summertime activities, from working in our gardens, swimming in clear, cold rivers, hiking in our lovely wild spaces, spending time with friends, and sleeping under the stars.
Because we spend so much time outside, it’s important to think about caring for our skin as we take on the blazing summer sun. And what better way to do so with plants! It connects us to the season and allows us to savor the sweet gifts of summer.
Our skin is the barrier to the world around us, always coming into contact with smoke, exhaust, sunshine, and dirt, and unnatural substances.
Pampering our skin not only makes us feel adorned and special with the act of self-care, but it’s also such a lovely way to use the herbs and flowers that are blooming around us.
Here are some ways to add flowers, herbs, and sunshine into your everyday skincare routine:
Summer sun tea or herbal water
The ultimate sun + plant connection
Connecting sun, plants and water is such a vibrant way to bring summer magic into our daily rituals. Plus, it’s like drinking liquid sunshine, after fresh herbs have sat in the blazing sun all day, infusing into fresh water.
To make sun tea: Fill a jar about halfway with fresh plants, cover with water, and let the sun work its magic, […]