Mixology in the Garden

A couple days ago a non-gardening member of the household burst through the screen door and out onto the porch and barked at me, “Grow me some cilantro!”

I barked back, “Grow it yourself. The smell makes me retch. What do you want it for?”

And the non-gardener went on to detail the alcoholic beverages for which cilantro is a useful ingredient.

At which point it occurred to me that we’re obviously taking entirely the wrong approach in attempting to encourage non-gardeners to get their hands dirty by touting the healthy benefits of growing fresh vegetables, including exercise and obesity reduction. What a virtuous bore. Maybe a bit less virtue and more vice?

Infusing booze with homegrown ingredients would seem a much more likely inducement. In another example of those zeitgeist-channeling moments we all occasionally stumble into, the New York Times had an article on this subject the very day the non-gardener fired off a request for cilantro.

So we made up a list of possible home-grown candidates, some more fanciful than others since not just infusion but distillation would be required, but just an idea list:

juniper (gin)
potatoes (vodka)
artemisia (absinthe)
malbec grapes – vodka and wine
string beans (bloody mary’s)
et cetera
et cetera


Think of the beautiful bottles you’d have to collect! And the bacchanalias, the harvest parties, with tables and ingredients staged and ready for guests to make mixology magic on a Labor Day weekend.
It might even induce me to grow more vegetables. Just don’t ask me to drink anything flavored with cilantro.

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6 Responses to Mixology in the Garden

  1. Kathy says:

    An inspired post ! I’m all over the string beans for the Bloody Marys, though the best ever in my experience had a grilled jumbo prawn perched jauntily over the edge of the glass.I believe this may have also been the most expensive. In fact there aren’t too many things that don’t benefit from a dip in a Bloody Mary…except maybe chocolate.

  2. I think you are on to something. A whole new gardening audience! I know the only reason I have mint growing in the garden is for the occasional mojito.

    Now about this cilantro issue…I’ve read it’s genetic. You are wired to be disgusted by it where as a brother or sister of yours may love it. Personally I can’t get enough of it whereas the mere odor of it sends my father (and not to a good place).

  3. Les says:

    I am sorry to say that I side with your non-gardener on the side of cilantro, I love it and would welcome a shot. My mother makes her own dilled sting beans, just like a dill cucumber pickle. They are very crunchy and flavorful and make an excellent alternative to olives in a Martini – no tooth pick needed.

  4. Denise says:

    Kathy, you didn’t reveal what you think of cilantro. I know you approve of Bloody Mary’s!
    Loree, I’ve heard that genetic explanation before too. Such a pretty plant, wish I liked it.
    Les, you’ll have to pry that recipe from your mom and put it on your blog one day. Dill I love.

  5. Kathy says:

    In the words of the High Lama of Shangri-La “Everything in moderation’ Cilantro is no exception.

  6. David says:

    They have tequilla agaves on sale here in Houston. Why not tell your friend? I’m sure you can find some large rocks and pulverize the leaves in the front yard. Neighbors may even ask a question or two. lol
    And…so sorry…I DO love cilantro, but I know of others that can’t stand the smell. I put it in chicken noodle soup, Tex-Mex and the like.
    On the other hand, I can’t stand to cut open a cucumber…eckkkk! I can’t stand the smell. :-0

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