Wildcrafting for Gratifying Drinks and Cocktails

Tired of boring, artificial, too-sweet drinks? Go wild! It's time to embrace drinks featuring local, fresh and wildcrafted ingredients.

| May 2016

  • Using ingredients you can find in your backyard, on your farm or at a local market, you can create artisanal drinks that leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized. Learn a variety of useful techniques to do so in “Wild Drinks and Cocktails" by Emily Han.
    Cover courtesy Fair Winds Press
  • Author Emily Han is a Los Angeles-based forager wildcrafter, drink-maker, and history lover on a mission to bridge modern herbalism with beverages.
    Photo by Fotolia/13smile

Craft drink expert Emily Han creates unique flavors in Wild Drinks and Cocktails(Fair Winds Press, 2015).  Han teaches you techniques you need to know to craft your own infused waters, syrups, vinegar drinks, spirits, wines and sodas — each with powerful health benefits and a sentimental nod to drinks of another era.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Wild Drinks and Cocktails.

What is Wildcrafting?

Wildcrafting is the practice of gathering wild of uncultivated plants and using them to make food, drink, or medicine. That might sound like a synonym for foraging, but I like the word wildcrafting because it encompasses the creative part of the process. A term frequently used by herbalists, wildcrafting also implies the development of a relationship with a place, as opposed to a haphazard rummaging around. And that takes care, attention, and time.



Wildcrafters are respectful of the entire ecosystem: we practice sustainable and ethical foraging by considering the long-term health of the plants, animals, and people that comprise that ecosystem. In other words, when you practice wildcrafting, you aren’t just picking free berries to make a cocktail; you’re also being mindful of the following issues:

• Can you correctly identify the plant? Are you 100 percent sure?
• Do you have permission to gather the plant?
• How abundant or rare is the plant? Is it endangered, native, invasive?
• Is the plant free from contamination such as pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, auto pollution, agricultural and manufacturing waste, and dog pee?
• Is the plant population healthy?
• Are there animals that depend on this plant for food or shelter?
• Will your actions kill a plant, prevent it from reproducing, or leave it vulnerable to disease?
• Are you harvesting only what you need?
• How can you give back to the ecosystem in a positive way?



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