Along the Grapevine

Dandelion Gin Fizz

30 Comments

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There is little time left to collect dandelion flowers this year. My spectacular crop is quickly going to seed, especially those plants which have been left unmowed, and which now exceed the typical maximum height of 45 cm. I was however able to collect a bucket full today from the mowed areas to make the season’s last batch of my new favourite summer drink – dandelion gin fizz.

There is no need to give descriptions of this plant for purposes of identification – if you have them anywhere in your area, you already know them. As for foraging, just make sure that they are picked only in clean areas, free of pesticides and other chemicals, or contaminated run-off. Around parking lots, train tracks, heavily travelled roads and polluted waters are to be avoided.

Roots, leaves and flowers are all edible. In fact, it is a common culinary and medicinal plant in many parts of the world. For more on the benefits and contraindications, check this post. Unfortunately, its uses and benefits are still relatively unrecognized in this part of the world, which makes it a great source of experiment for curious cooks.

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Which brings me back to my bucket full of flowers. Last year, at about this time, I wrote my first post on dandelions, including recipes using flowers for dandelion pakoras and syrup. Since then, I have come across a few recipes for lacto-fermented soda, such as this one and of course I had to try it. It is easy, economical, and full of all those wonderful pro-biotics found in fermented foods and drinks. I was also intrigued to think that this could be a home-made soft drink. I am not a fan of the overly sweet commercial fizzy drinks, with the exception of tonic water for my G&Ts, which despite its grown-up bitter flavour, has as much sugar as the worst of them. So I was thinking along the lines of a good gin and tonic type drink as a post-gardening/weeding refreshment.

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I made this one with whey as a fermenting agent. For the whey, you can strain some natural, plain yogurt through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. You don’t need much, and it keeps in the fridge for at least a week, and can be frozen. My next batch I will make with a dandelion bug, that is, a fermenting agent made with edible root, water and sugar. Most ‘bugs’ are made from ginger, but in fact any edible root works – so why not a dandelion root? To get a clearer idea of what I am referring to, check out this post for a ginger bug where the process is clearly explained.

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Dandelion Gin Fizz


The Soda

Fill a clean mason jar about 3/4 full with dandelion petals – only the yellow part.

Cover with boiling, filtered water and let stand for about 24 hours.

Strain the mixture, and squeeze out all the liquid you can from the petals.

For every cup of juice, ad 1/4 cup whey and 1/4 cup sugar syrup (made from heating until sugar is dissolved 2 parts sugar to 1 part water).

Cover the jar with a clean cloth and allow to stand for about five days at room temperature stirring once a day.

Small white bubbles will form on the top. If it goes mouldy, then throw it out. When you stir it, check the taste. It will have a dandelion flavour, but should be palatable.

The Gin Fizz

1 1/2 cup dandelion soda

1/3-1/2 cup sugar syrup

juice of 1 lemon

3 oz. gin

ice cubes

Mix the first 4 ingredients and pour into glasses over ice cubes.

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Not as bitter as a commercial tonic, this drink has a mild fruit taste, something like a pear nectar. The fizziness is lighter than a traditional G&T, but it is every bit as refreshing and satisfying.

 

Dandelion Gin Fizz on Punk Domestics

 

 

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30 thoughts on “Dandelion Gin Fizz

  1. Looks delicious and refreshing! I keep thinking I ought to experiment with Dandelions, since they’re everywhere!

    • They are indeed everywhere. When you consider they were brought here by the Europeans as a food source, it is surprising we don’t use them more.

  2. Pear nectar…that sounds delicious, Hilda! Cheers! :D

  3. Thanks. I was surprised at the flavour. It must have been the combination of the whey, lemon and flower. Maybe it will be different if I make it with the root – we’ll see.

  4. What a delightful way to use something we only think of as a weed! I’ve got to try this!

  5. I tried making dandelion champagne years ago. It was okay, but the real thing was more to my taste at the time. You’ve inspired me to try again, or try this (easier) version.

    This one looks good. It’s just started raining from a massive front, so it might be the end of dandelion flowers for our season now, but it’s one to save.

    • I have never tried making wine with dandelions – somehow I just can’t imagine it is worth the time and effort, although maybe I shouldn’t speak before trying it. I made this recipe because, not only is it easy, I can make it in small quantities. When I run out, I’ll be on to another weed or flower.

      • Quite right. I’m looking forwards to having enough dandelions to give your drink a try. I love that you do it in small amounts: it’s so much less of a chore that way.

  6. Are you kidding me? Seriously? Oh my…. How do you do it Hilda? Speechless! I would like to have a glass of that heavenly nectar please! Beautiful!

  7. Thanks Sonal. I have to admit that once you have even a tiny idea and you research it enough, it is easy to come up with more ideas. I am pleased with how it worked out, although it will just be a seasonal drink as I have no intention of bottling quantities.

  8. Sounds yummy. I look forward to relaxing with a drink in hand after a long day of gardening.

  9. Brilliant!

  10. This is BRILLIANT! I can’t wait to try it. We are having a very slow spring in Newfoundland so I have time to gather lots of dandy’s yet!

  11. Pingback: Gin and Tonic With Bitters and Orange Recipe | Summer Drinks | The New York TimesYou By My Side | You By My Side

  12. I love your dandelion recipes! This looks delicious and I will make sure to save and try some next year. All of the dandelion seems to be past it’s prime here for this year! :)

  13. Thanks. There are of course the roots to be used in wonderful ways. Working on that now.

  14. I never met anyone who can use dandelion for so many dish and drink like you, Hilda!

  15. Wonderful! I still have a lot of dandelions in the back yard, I could make this. Thanks Hilda.

  16. Pingback: Another Dandelion Gin Fizz? No Whey! | Along the Grapevine

  17. I tried to make a dandelion confiture this year. Didn’t really work for me. I accidentally put to much water, so I didn’t have so much sugar, but half of my sugar was already there….silly me…than I didn’t have time to continue and it went spoiled. Waste of time and sugar :( Gonna try next year again.

  18. Pingback: » Highlights: For Your Summer Cocktail Party

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