How to Make a Wild Summer Cocktail

A new cocktail cookbook explores the wilder side of summer



New cocktail cookbook "The Wildcrafted Cocktail" will show you the wilder side of summer sipping. The book provides an introduction to artisanal cocktails using foraged or common flowers, weeds or berries. Author Ellen Zachos is an experienced forager, offering when and in which regions to harvest for the best flavor. In addition to 45 cocktail recipes, she includes all the instructions for making syrups, bitters, infusions and garnishes for truly locally sourced drinks with a unique flavor. Here's a guide to making one of her wildcrafted creations.


A Butterfly Kiss

2.5 ounces of vodka
1.5 ounces milkweed flower syrup (see recipe below)
.5 ounce seltzer, sparking water or club soda

Combine the vodka and milkweed flower syrup in a shaker full of ice and shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass and top with seltzer, sparking water or club soda. No garnish required.

Milkweed Flower Syrup

Pick the pink flower buds when the plant is in full bloom and the blossoms are dripping nectar.

The nectar of the common milkweed flower is thick and sweet with a unique flavor. Author Ellen Zachos suggests you taste the nectar straight off the plant to see if you like its floral and spicy flavor.

2 cups milkweed flowers
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water

Combine the milkweed flowers and the sugar in a glass or plastic container with a tight lid. Stir well and let sit, covered, for 24 hours.

Transfer the milkweed flowers and sugar to a saucepan and add the water. Whisk over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and the liquid just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and cover. Let the syrup sit overnight. Strain the syrup and pour into a pretty glass bottle or a canning jar. Syrup will keep up to three months in the refrigerator.

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