experiments macerating dried flowers, roost, rinds and herbs are completed and I have detailed notes on the results. After a month's time the liquor was strained off and clarified and then some were matched with hydrosols. Certain recipes didn't work at all and were discarded but most of them yielded results. I was really surprised by the tenacity of the different brews, some of them will last days on a tester strip.
Summer Splash came as a real surprise. The floral note that resulted from roses and lavender macerating with vetiver, sweet annie and orange peel was astonishing. It was blended with lemon balm hydrosol to create a summery splash. This one changes over time in a most interesting way.
Florida Water epitomizes summer for me. There is a large Latino community intermingled in my Brooklyn neighborhood and a lot of the pharmacies cater to this clientelle so are stocked with Florida Water. I have memories of my first years in Brooklyn discovering the pleasures of an evening shower followed with a splash of Florida Water. Orange blossom and clove are the distinctive notes in the cologne so I decided orange blossom hydrosol would be used with a maceration of meyer lemon rind, sweet woodruff, lavender, benzoin, cinnamon and clove. The results smell surprisingly like the water I used all those years ago, and I think it could be considered suitable for men as well as women.
Verbena Water is the result of macerating fresh lemon verbena and sweet woodruff from my garden, dried jasmine, linden blossoms and vanilla pods and then mixed with verbena hydrosol. It's as fresh as it sounds, the softness of the woodruff and vanilla pared with lemon verbena counterbalance each other beautifully.
Rose Garden is a blend of dried roses, angelica root, jasmine, vanilla pods and lemon verbena which was then mixed with rosewater to create a veritable rose garden in a bottle.
Violet Water is the result of orris root, sweet woodruff, benzoin and jasmine marrying beautifully to create a woodland violet sort of fragrance which was then blended with cornflower water. Violets contain a chemical called ionones which give them their characteristic fragrance. Orris root, the dried and aged rhizome of the Iris pallida, also contains ionones but also has a woodland quality to it. There are no violets in this blend so the name is merely a suggestion.
Each cologne is bottled in a one of a kind vintage glass bottle collected from the beaches of Brooklyn, NY. They've been scrubbed clean and sterilized but they're old and scratched to different degrees. Expect some wear from tumbling in the ocean for who knows how long.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
|Elderflowers macerating in vodka|
Elderflowers grow all over Prospect Park and another artisanal cocktail enthusiast told me that he'd made his own liqueur from the flowers in the park. I made a point of getting together with another friend, a local forager and farmer, to hunt for the blossoms. Armed with wildflower guides we set out and identified plenty of look a likes but came home empty handed. A second foray found what we were looking for.