Thursday, June 9, 2011

Local drinkies? Why yes, don't mind if I do...

Boyd & Blair Digestif Redux: mint, lemon verbana (or lemon balm) and rosemary...
I was supposed to be on my way to dine with some lovely friends, the theme of the dinner was local eating (how could I miss THAT???). Of course, dates fall as they do and I had a previous dinner engagement. I so wanted to attend that I volunteered to bring a digestif to end the meal. For those unfamiliar with such drinks, it is a generally high alcohol, sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter, palate cleanser and digestive aid, meant to be sipped after a fine dinner. I am no mixologist, so where did I turn? Straight to Boyd & Blair and my herb garden. By the way, if you are avoiding alcohol these days, this recipe would also make a fine refreshing drink when mixed with some bubbly from Pittsburgh Seltzer Works...

For those of you who know me, I'm a long time fan of Boyd & Blair's locally distilled, locally bottled, locally sourced potato triple distilled premium vodka (= no hangover!). I've been out to the distillery, met the men and love the vodka (apparently I'm not alone, they were just ranked the best vodka in America by Spirits Journal). Also, because its potato vodka, it has a great mouth feel (a bit thick when nice and chilled), a clean finish and its completely grain free (for you paleo folks out there, scientists say that even grain alcohols are gluten free because the gluten is too heavy to travel through the distillation process).

What grows in your garden?
Next I turned to my herb garden and gathered an assortment of herbs known for aiding digestion--lemon verbana (lemon balm is also good), mint (mine is a Kentucky Mint variety) and rosemary. The next step is a chef's cheat, I didn't have the time for a lengthy infusion. Besides, this is an after-dinner drink so a bit of sweet is a very nice thing.
I cooked up a nice simple syrup (1 cup raw sugar, 1 cup water), washed and bruised two small handfulls of each herb and simmered it all together until it tasted really good. I then cooled the mixture, poured it into a mason jar with the vodka and stuck it all in the freezer.

In the end, I didn't make it in time for the dinner (boo!) so I took it over to my sister's house (afterall, she was keeping my kids...) and we all digestif-ed (YAY!). Absolutely delicious, soothing to my tummy (I had come from a big Indian feast) and surprisingly refreshing.

Choose your weapon wisely...


Next time, I'm going to try to cajole my favorite local foragers over at Food Under Foot into showing me where to find LOCAL WILD GINGER--I had no idea such a thing existed, but that, combined with a few other herbal concoctions, sure would make something worth digestif-ing.