We all remember blowing the seeds of a dandelion. Where did they go? Off to mystical lands where dreams come true? And I certainly hope you’ve experienced the crunch of dandelion greens in a summer salad, or puckered up with a fragrant cup of dandelion root tea. Somehow, even if unknowingly, this herb has touched all of our lives. Why not add it to a cocktail?
The English name “dandelion” is derived from a reference to the leaves of the plant dent-de-lion. The jagged leaves resemble the teeth of a lion. The scientific Greek name of Taraxacum officinale stems from the words “disorder” and “remedy,” offering great insight into this plant’s excursion.
The primary application of this herb is to clear out toxic heat from the body. The liver likes this herb, because the liver’s job is to filter the excesses our bodies have trouble processing. Dandelion roots can detoxify the liver and blood. Through history, this bright yellow plant has been applied as treatments for liver conditions as severe as hepatitis, jaundice, and cirrhosis.
“The English name “dandelion” is derived from a reference to the leaves of the plant dent-de-lion.”
But the dandelion also has a place in salads and cocktails. Its spicy taste and floral scent add bite to a mixture. In this recipe, we’ve paired this easy-to-source flower with gin and pilsner. Note: You’ll need to prep (or purchase) a dandelion room tincture, for which we’ve also included the recipe. For this reason, we’ve ranked this cocktail’s “rate of ease” as difficult. Still, it’s fun to ponder. After all….
The lonely and castigated weed
Which I prefer to call a flower
Starting from a determined seed
Golden yellow, in a new spring shower
—David Bruce Patterson
Recipe: Muskoka Dandy Lion Cocktail
1.5 oz. Gin (recommend Muskoka Oddity Legendary Gin)
.25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
.5 oz. Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla
.25 oz. Dandelion Root Tincture
.75 oz. Dandelion Leaf and Tangelo Peel Syrup
4 oz. Pilsner (recommend Lake of Bays Switchback Pilsner) Adjust to taste. Adding more beer will adjust this beverage from a summer cocktail, to a summer drink. Not sure what the difference is!
Tangelo Peel or Edible Flowers (for Garnish)
Preparation: Fill a mixing tin with all ingredients except for Pilsner and garnish. Shake with ice and a confident smile and gently strain the dandelion concoction into a pilsner glass. Top with the beer. Garnish with a fresh tangelo peel or edible flowers, or choose a creative ingredient that calls your name. If your name is ‘lavender’ you’ve got it made!
Dandelion Root Tincture
Using a high-proof spirit of your choice (to maintain consistency and maybe add a bit to the flavour, I recommend a cucumber vodka like Stolichnaya) macerate dried dandelion root at a 3:1 ratio of root/spirit for at least three weeks.
Dandelion Leaf and Tangelo Peel Syrup
Bring equal parts sugar and water to a near boil, and then simmer equal parts dandelion leaf and tangelo peel until desired flavor is reached. The portion of leaves and peel should be left up to the desired taste.
This is an elaborate recipe that has to be planned ahead. In future columns I will offer some concoctions that require less expense and can be stirred at the spur of the moment. A cowboy cocktail perhaps?
About the Author: David Bruce Patterson is a Muskoka author, poet, and cocktail connoisseur. He finds it a stimulating challenge, rotating between novel writing, and poetry. “They meet somewhere in the middle,” he says. “The unknown genre.” David has completed his novel, Square Wheels, and is now working on Dorothy Parker and the Epigram Mysteries: Murder at Land’s End. David has also written more than 3000 poems and hopes to have an anthology out soon!