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High Desert Botanicals

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  1. Hi everyone, I just wanted to introduce myself before my "new member" period runs out. I'm a botanist and my husband Reese is a fixer (tech support) and we live in Nevada (the cold part, not Las Vegas.) In addition to our day jobs, we run High Desert Botanicals, which is why I haven't been very active in the forums yet. It's our busy time of year. We make kits for folks to create their own cocktail bitters, tonic, mixers, and other goodies. So far we're still very small and we do all of the work ourselves. Our varied interests include cocktails, home brewing, baking, gardening, and music. Reese has gotten into making pizza and wishes we had room for an outdoor pizza oven. Our poor dog has learned to equate the smell of pizza and the sound of the smoke alarm so he hides in his kennel at the first whiff. I enjoy experimenting with herbs and spices to create bitters, tonics, shrubs, oxymels, syrups, and other tasty liquids. My desk is covered with stacks of mason jars full of various liquids. When the apple harvest is good, we typically brew and bottle 20 to 40 gallons of cider in the fall. This year we had a late spring frost that killed all of the fruit blossoms so it's a good thing we bottled plenty last year. Researching bitters and spices has also sparked a keen interest in the history of the spice trade. I've been collecting stories on my pinterest board (https://www.pinterest.com/hdb_nv/history-of-spices/) If you know of an interesting story about spices, send me a link. I had never appreciated before how important spices were to world trade, exploration, and occasionally war and genocide. I'm looking forward to swapping recipes and offering up our success and failures to the forums. Thanks, Janel
  2. Our only consistent tradition is singing along to a hand-me-down LP of Alice's Restaurant while we clean the house on Thanksgiving morning.
  3. Last winter we were developing recipes for our DIY Tiki Mixers Kit and there are only so many Pearl Divers and Zombies I can drink when it's 20° out. So I made a variation on hot buttered rum that I call Toasted Tiki Buttered Rum. Browning the butter and blooming the spices in the hot butter makes it taste like a mug full of warm molasses cookies. Pairs well with a warm blanket and a netflix subscription. Toasted Tiki Buttered Rum: Heat in a small saucepan over medium heat: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (or salted butter and omit the salt) Grind in a mortar and pestle: 1 clove 3 cardamom seeds (or use 1/8 teaspoon each of pre-ground spices) Add: 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg When the butter solids turn golden brown, add the spices and toast for 15 seconds. Immediately add: 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla syrup* 1/4 teaspoon pimento dram* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon syrup* 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt Heat until milk is barely steaming. Pour into a mug with: 1 ½ ounces gold or dark rum If you're making several, it can be difficult to distribute the butter and milk evenly so I find it's easier to heat the butter mix and milk mix in separate pans and then measure them into the mugs and stir.
  4. Thanks! What's in a dead date? I can't find it online. We started out mixing the tonic with a corn 'n oil but the falernum was too medicinal with the tonic.
  5. We came up with this one when we were working on the recipe book for our Tiki Mixers Kit last year. You can substitute tonic water for the tonic syrup and sparkling water but choose a clean, bitter tonic, nothing too sweet or fruity. Blackheart’s Punch • 2 ounces blackstrap rum • 1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup • Juice of 1 lime • 1 ounce tonic syrup Shake ingredients with ice, strain into chilled a highball glass, and fill with sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge skewered on a plastic cocktail sword (eyepatch and parrot are optional).
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