The average liquor bottle contains a great deal more than straight alcohol, Stewart writes.
"Once a spirit leaves the still, it is subject to endless experimentation with herbs, spices, fruits, nuts, bark, roots and flowers," she said. "Some distillers claim to use over a hundred different botanicals in their secret recipes."
So if distillers are continuing to experiment, why not gardeners?
Stewart's garden-themed recipes can be the foundation for:
— Infused vodkas. Fill a clean jar with fruit, herbs or spices and then add vodka. Seal, store and sample until your taste buds tell you it's ready to drink.
— Homemade grenadine. Peel a half-dozen pomegranates, leaving the seeds and membranes intact. Squeeze and filter until you've made about two cups of juice. Pour that into a saucepan, add 1 to 2 cups of sugar, simmer and stir in an ounce of vodka, which acts as a preservative. The syrup should be good for about a month.
— Maraschino cherries. Clean and pit a small batch of fresh, sour cherries. Loosely fill a Mason jar with the cherries and cover with brandy or bourbon. Seal the jar and refrigerate. Use them in drinks or over ice cream.