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GroEdibles Blog

Oct 4

Well…infu-use me! Now it’s legal?

Posted by GeriMiller on 4 Oct 2011. Filed under  Cocktail gardens View Comments

As those of you who have followed my GroEdibles blog and facebook page for awhile may remember, I have written and lectured about and designed cocktail gardens as well as thoroughly enjoyed the ‘garden-fresh’ infused cocktails produced from them for years now. We’re talking about the garden-to-glass movement that has been as popular with skilled mixologists all around the country as the farm-to-table movement has been with chefs.

Fennel Strawberry infused martini

I’ve enjoyed these delicious concoctions in fabulous bars on both coasts but….little did I know that when I was imbibing a brilliant garden infused martini in the Golden State, I WAS BREAKING THE LAW!!! Between planting veggies in frontyard gardens and this….I must have been on someone’s ‘most wanted’ list! Didn’t have a clue I was living on the edge of lawlessness in California! A cocktail OUTLAW…no…a FRUIT AND VEGGIE COCKTAIL OUTLAW – how awesome is that? I’m ordering the T-shirt now!

    As Robert Simonson wrote recently in a New York Times article…”It is no longer illegal for a California bartender to put a basil leaf in a bottle of gin.”

    Simonson reports that on September 21, “Gov. Jerry Brown of California announced that he had signed Senate Bill 32, which overturns a legal vestige of Prohibition that made it unlawful to infuse alcohol with fruits, vegetables, herbs or spices.” Consider for a moment the shock felt ’round the bar when our friends at the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control started waving this antiquated law in the faces of some of the most popular cutting edge bars in San Francisco early last year! Warnings were issued that by creating their own house-made tintures and bitters, they were breaking the law! Read Simonson’s full article here…

    Vodka Infusion - Strawberry, Lemon, Mint, Cucumber, Lavender, Red Flame Grape


    My partner in crime..."The Drink Chef" Blake Donaldson...and I toast over his fabulous garden-fresh infusions made w/ my freshly harvested produce from the mar'sel restaurant garden!

    Well, I feel a sense of validation and victory without ever having felt the shame of being a scoff-law! Phew, time to call my friend Blake and tell him he can bring his infusion jars out of the shadows! Read more from HGEL about designing and using cocktail gardens HERE…

    HGEL’s class at last year’s Artisanal LA festival with The Drink Chef, Blake Donaldson

3 Responses to “Well…infu-use me! Now it’s legal?”

  1. ROFL, herbalists everywhere have been disobeying this law forever !! But I did not know that bartender’s were making their own infusions! This was interesting and I am glad the law was overturned !

    Posted by Pam on October 5th, 2011 at 1:40 am Reply

    • Here’s a toast to the former outlaw bartenders in California, Pam! 🙂

      Posted by GeriMiller on October 5th, 2011 at 2:17 pm Reply

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