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. […]
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, […]
Nettles are one of spring’s most enticing traditional herbs, and are also a delicious wild food. Nettles are an annual plant found in wooded areas and forests, in natural grasslands, along fertile fields and riverbanks, and along shaded trails. Nettles can be thought of as springtime’s green superfood, packed with minerals and vitamins.
Nettles are a great source for wildcrafting in terms of sustainability since they are a naturally spreading weed. If you have a nettle patch that you visit often or one growing in your garden, frequent harvests will ensure second growths, making it a viable plant all summer long.
When they are young they are full of fresh juicy goodness just waiting to be eaten!
Adding nettles into your wellness routine and diet not only gives you essential nutrients that your body needs but they support healthy tissue states and sinuses. Fresh nettle is always found on an herbalists’ lists when it comes to supporting healthy eyes, nose, lungs, and sinuses. Some favorite ways to use them include a fresh nettle tea, cold infusion if you can or fresh nettle juice!
Cooking with Nettles
Nettles are delicious in many spring recipes — from soups to salads, pizzas, and pastas. They are a great stand-in for greens like chard or spinach in certain recipes—soups, pastas and warm grain dishes, as well as treats like nettle tart or quiche.
– Harvest the top cluster of young nettles (the top 5” or so) as they are the most juicy. They are tender when young and easy to harvest!
– Wear […]
Gardening season is upon us in northern New England. After another weird winter characterized by a series of freezes and thaws, and then a late winter rally of cold and snow in March, spring seems like it is finally here to stay. When considering perennials to enrich our landscape, the array of species at our fingertips is staggering. A trip to the local nursery will expose us to an impressive array of glossy-leaved, long flowering, insect-resistant plants from all over the world. Some of the most popular perennials are genetic anomalies, having double flowers, or leaves and/or flowers that are a different color than the original plant. In the case of double flowers, the pistils and stamen, the nectar and pollen producing parts, are replaced with showy petals. This renders the plant useless to pollinators like bees and butterflies. Right now your local nursery may be selling a sterile double-flowered bloodroot, a sumac with purple leaves, or an Echinacea with lime-colored flower petals. These are indeed flashy, but from an ecological standpoint, most of these plants are dead weight in the garden, as they contribute very little to the ecosystem.
Bumblebees and butterflies love Liatris pynostachya (Prairie Blazing Star)!
Despite all the eye candy available to us, many gardeners are starting to think more broadly when we plan our gardens and landscapes, beyond just aesthetics. Alongside our personal needs for food, medicine and beauty, the plants we grow can also serve the creatures that share this earth with us. The plants can provide food and shelter for pollinators, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds! Essentially our built […]