Gartending and Happy Hour

I do not have a green thumb. In fact, my thumb is more like the grim reaper of garden

As a young newlywed living in Minneapolis I decided to surprise my husband one spring evening. I knew he would be working late so I took advantage of the time and weeded the flower garden knowing it was a chore he could skip on the weekend. He had carefully cultivated the newly planted flowers from seedlings and they had recently been transplanted to beautify our front porch.

After gardening, I sat on the stoop quite pleased with my good deed. When my husband approached the front yard he indeed looked astonished. I asked him if he liked what I had done. He hesitatingly replied, “Hmm, I like your idea.” I was a little puzzled by the underwhelming response so I asked for clarification.  He said, “What did you think you were taking out?”

“Weeds of course,” I replied.

“Those weren’t weeds.”

As the pit in my stomach grew I weakly replied,”Uh, what were they?”

“They were my flowers!”

We agreed from that point forward that it was best for me to take a more limited role in the garden. Decades later, my only responsibility is to water one palm tree. It’s safer for the plants and better for our marriage.

No one will ever mistake me for a botanist but I appreciate the clever souls who can cultivate a garden and identify a plant from 10 yards away. I am particularly impressed by creative uses for garden bounty.

This weekend I attended a seminar, Garden to Glass, taught by Seattle gardener and creative cocktail crafter, Beth Evans-Ramos. Attendees were tutored in the art of “gartending,” a fun combination of organic gardening and bartending. We oohed and aahed at the beautiful creations of infusions, non-alcoholic beverages, bitters and syrups.infused in a row

Evans-Ramos delights in tinkering and encouraged her students to do the same.  A “grandma on the go,” Mama Beth happily recounted her serendipitous route to cocktail crafting. She talked about her eclectic thrift store collection of glasses and the joy of discovering hidden talent amongst the master bartenders of Seattle.

Beth goes by the moniker, “Mama Beth knows her cocktails,” and that is no hyperbole.

Check out her website to see for yourself: mamaknowshercocktails.

I haven’t felt this inspired to dig in the dirt since my epic weeding episode of nearly 25 years ago. I came home from the seminar and headed straight to our garden. My husband looked a little nervous but was relieved to see me merely picking mint and raspberries to use for an “infusion.” However, seedlings be warned. I may have discovered a new hobby and a new happy hour – time in the garden.

Ginger Beer Lemon Mint Medley

Ginger Beer Lemon Mint Medley

Carol Lewis Gullstad July 15, 2013

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