It’s July! That means our backyard gardens are blooming and so is party inspiration. This month we have Adriana Picker, the botanical illustrator behind the book, ‘The Cocktail Garden‘, to help us with the summer of celebrations ahead. She is budding with floral advice perfect for helping us plan our parties & cocktails.

We had to know, first and foremost, ‘What’s your favorite cocktail in this book?’

Adriana let us know, ‘The cocktail that is a staple in my house is the Fig Leaf Martini on page 92. It’s a really great way to begin a debaucherous dinner party. The flavour of fig leaf is just so beautiful and surprising – a sweet, aromatic mixture of coconut and almond and something else herbaceous that I can’t quite describe. It was a really exciting discovery for me to learn of all the ways you can use fig leaves – and the tincture recipe in the book is an amazing way of preserving an ephemeral Summer flavour to use all year round. I actually prefer a wet Martini so I make them 50/50 Gin and Vermouth – the book has a recipe for a dry style. But of course, adjust to your own preference.”

With friend and family get-togethers making a return this summer, we asked, “How do you make a simple occasion feel like a celebration?”

Adriana affirmed, ‘For me, it isn’t a party unless flowers are involved. Deck the table out with them, put them in your food, and pop an edible blossom on your cocktail as a garnish – think Violets, Elderflower, Roses, Cherry Blossoms, even a stunning little basil flower. I love how florals just bring an element of beauty and whimsy to any occasion.’

With our creative customers in mind, we questioned, “What advice would you give those looking to craft their own garden cocktail?”

Adriana was excited to explain “There is quite a few recipes for different tinctures you can make in the book – they are an amazing way to preserve flowers, herbs, and other botanicals from your backyards, gardens, and neighbourhoods. The same with syrups. I encourage you to use this book as a starting point to explore what you have available to use around you that is not store-bought. Get curious about what plants are around you, what they taste like, and how they could interact with other flavors. Do you have the amazing Pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea) growing in your neighbourhood? It is a relative of Chamomile and could replace it in the cocktail on pg 160. What about Service Berries or Mugwort or Sumac! Explore! Experiment! But of course, do your research (plant identification apps are pretty great), don’t harvest or use sprayed plants and have fun! I’m getting so excited just thinking about the possibilities!!”

With that being said, I think it’s time to take a stroll in the garden with my copy of  ‘The Cocktail Garden‘ to see what I can find!