If you've been reading The Kitchn for any length of time, you have probably run across a recipe or a story by Emily Han, a longtime contributor and friend. She has been a generous sharer of beautiful vegetarian and vegan recipes, not to mention stories and cooking drawn from her love of nature and foraging in Southern California. Her first cookbook, "Wild Drinks and Cocktails," draws on this strongly, with a simply gorgeous and inspiring collection of drinks inspired by the outdoors and the wild world just a step away.
Emily wrote here about her slow evolution into an avid forager and mixologist, explaining how after she gave up gluten and other foods after health challenges, she found fresh inspiration in drinks sourced from her walks in nature. "The sadness I felt after undergoing massive dietary changes and giving up my favorite foods has lifted as I've found new mediums with which to create. In some ways mixology feels like a marriage of my lives as a baker and cook — precision meets invention."
The product of her fascination with infusions and mixology turned into this book, "Wild Drinks," and I don't think I'm biased when I say it's a must-buy for anyone interested in the gentle art of drinks made from fascinating plants. She explores infusions and tisanes made from herbs (peppermint-fennel after-dinner tea, for instance) and then moves on to fermentation, fizzy drinks, and wildly delicious and inventive squashes and shrubs.
For those of you who want to learn to play with your drinks, but avoid alcohol, this is a great and inspiring book. If you do love booze, there are ways throughout the recipes to add it in, and some wines and punches (rose petal wine!) for your next summer party.
We're sharing a few recipes from Emily's book this month, starting with this homemade, honey-tinged cranberry juice, Cranberry Mors, but that's just a first taste. I hope you pick up her book as well; it's a feast for those who love to drink.