What should a gardener drink?

One of my favorite BBC shows is “As Time Goes By” w/ Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer playing Jean and Lionel.  In the show, many a dilemma is smoothed over with the quintessential British option of a Gin & Tonic.  I notice that bit because my cocktail of choice is a G & T.  After all what else should a gardener drink? Gin is infused w/ botanicals such as juniper berries, lemon peel, almonds, cucumber, chamomile, angelica root, apple, coriander, leaves, fruits, and flowers, it is a liquid combination of the garden.  I’ve been traveling in England for a few weeks and I was surprised to discover that Gin is having its moment of fame all over the cocktail and retail scape of the country.  How else can you explain the varieties of gins for sale in the market?

Take a look at these flavors:  I didn’t know Rhubarb was so popular in England, it is in nearly every garden, there are special growing techniques and it shows up in many a sweetened cake at tea time but I certainly didn’t expect a rhubarb gin.

Kew Gardens using the power of all its important botanical science is making its own bespoke gin from the flowers and botanicals it grows. Kew grows a lot of wonderful plants to select from.

Elderflower, a tiny white blossom that brightens the hedgerows in spring is a very popular flavor here.  Used in cakes and of course, it makes a good gin.  Elderflower is thought to help with the effects of the common cold, so this variety of gin could be seen as medicinal.

At the Binsey Fete, near Oxford, one of the fundraising booths was offering straight shots of gin.  Nearby a very popular pub, The Perch, was infusing an enormous jar of alcohol with sloe berries which in time would become sloe gin.

Sloe Berries

I hadn’t been that close to sloe gin since a memorable experience in college.

The enthusiasm for gin goes beyond the cocktail hour. How else can you explain, G & T lip balm, bath salts, and body soap?  Then the real puzzler, G & T popcorn?

If you are getting into this idea then you will need to do some research, be assured there are no shortages of books on the subject.  You can keep your feet warm with a pair of G & T socks while you are doing your social correspondence with a G & T card.

I’m still here in England. . . .the temperature is dropping, it rained all day, and frankly, my thirst for a G & T is highest during the hot days of a Phoenix, AZ  summer.  Gin and Tonic ice cream would be just the thing for a summer refreshment.  Seriously, Gin is the thing here and I’m still looking to see how many more ways the Brits love their G & T.  I’ll get back to you as I need to sample a few more as well.

The Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanical garden in England.  This year it was the 30th year of the Lettering Arts Trust exhibitions in the garden.  This year’s theme is An Elixir of Letters so the artwork focused on drink, so there is a perfect seat for me to contemplate this season of gin.  The inscription engraved around the stone bench reads, Juniper Berries, Coriander Seeds, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Orange Peel, Gin & Sit

Update, June 28, 2019, So I am flying home and have a Kansas City layover. In my view is this quirky vending machine. So I am thinking the Gin thing could be coming stateside 😀

Looking more closely I find, center, 2nd row. . . 

8 thoughts on “What should a gardener drink?”

  1. Linda, I truly loved your article “What a gardener should drink.” I heartily agree! I fell in love in Edinburgh Gin Distillery’s gins and liqueurs when we visited Scotland in early 2017 and have been looking for a suitable substitute for their raspberry and elderflower gin-based liqueurs ever since. It is so much fun to try different gins for their herbal essences, and now thanks to your post, I have a few more to search out (if any of these are available in the U.S.). Enjoy your time in England, and I hope we get to see you when you return from Arizona. — Kim Rosenlof, President, Tempe Garden Club

    1. It was amazing and very tasty to try some different ones, I’m going to look for some locally. In the mean time I like a spicy G & T from Amy Stewart’s book, The Drunken Botanist, it muddles a few thin slices of jalapeño pepper, cucumber & cilantro w/ the gin and then mix with tonic for a very flavorful combination. Garnish w/ more cucumber.

  2. Here in USA of course Bombay Sapphire with its lovely blue colored bottle is v popular, (esp with me, the Brit among us!), just be mindful of its alcohol content which is significantly higher than vodka!

  3. Loved your article. I miss England and all of the lovely gardens. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your and Rich’s adventures. I’m so happy that you made it to the Cotswolds. I think I’ll have me some gin in the garden.

  4. What fun! I don’t particularly care for gin, but may now have to reconsider. Meanwhile, here’s a suggestion from the book THE TIPSY VEGAN: “ZIPPY MINT COCKTAIL”
    Several mint sprigs for steeping and garnishing
    12 ounces dry Chardonnay
    8 ounces gin
    2 ounces creme de menthe
    Soak the mint sprigs for 2 hours in half the Chardonnay. Add the remaining Chardonnay, the gin, and the creme de menthe. Shake well with plenty of ice and strain into chilled martini glasses. Place a fresh mint sprig in each glass.

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