Plants Can Aid

Posted by Tammy Sons on Dec 28, 2015

The Many Plants Used for Making Merry

Horticulture and alcohol are both institutions with a good amount of overlap in their development. From the enthusiast working on his vineyard for years to harvest just the right grape for the perfect bottle of wine to the bartender muddling the mint for a proper mojito, it's easy to see that plants and flowers have been a valuable component in adding variety too. If not just inspiring, alcoholic drinks of various kinds.

Here is a sample of the drinks that use flowers and those used in certain drinks.

Crème de Violette is a French drink, reaching as far back as the 1800s, accented with violet (genus Viola) flavoring/essence. It had been unavailable in the United States for some time until Rothman & Winter began importing a variety that made use of violets growing along the Alps.

Creme Yvette could be considered a cousin to Crème de Violette. While both drinks make use of violets and have only recently been revived for American tastes, Creme Yvette is more akin to drinking a broad sample of the fruit section of your local produce department. In addition to the violets, it uses honey, various berries, vanilla, and even the zest of orange peels.

Rosolio is a variety of Italian wines, especially noticeable around Sicily and Southern Italy. It mixes equal portions of sugar, alcohol, water, and the rose (genus Rosa) essence, which gives the drink its namesake.

St. Germain, like Creme Yvette, is a unique and delicious wine that combines a variety of fruit essences and juices with elderberry flowers (genus Sambucus).

Anise (Pimpanella anisum) makes up many herbal drinks worldwide, beyond the infamous Absinthe, and includes Spanish Patxaran, French Anisette and Pastis, Mexican Xtabentún, Greek Ouzo, and Tsipouro, and even American-made Herbsaint. The country of Italy is especially experienced with utilizing anise in its liquors, with examples like Anisetta, Alpestre, Centerba (actually brewed with 100 different herbs; hence its name), Galliano, Dimmi (which involves Absinthe), Passione Nera, and Vespetrò.

The above list is only a sample of the variety of drinks that brewers, vintners, and horticulturists have developed worldwide. While Europe has a wide variety of "grown drinks," you should always look into drinking a local specialty.