Moderation is key. I am currently working on making this common wisdom my mantra, not so much in relation to alcohol but rather to gardening.
It is easy for me to lose track of time when I’m out in the garden. There’s so much to weed, dig, prune, mulch, stake and expand… More often than not, before I know it, it’s time to make dinner and then I’m so wiped out that I don’t even have the energy to snap a few photos for my lovely blog, not to mention having any coherency left in my brain for a quick blog entry.
So, I have decided (to strive) to limit my time in the garden to 2 hours or 1-2 projects a day. And my alcohol consumption — to 2 drinks or 1-2 liters of vodka. Whichever is less.
Anyway, what was I going to say?.. Oh, right, the ramps.
A few weeks ago Julie and Travis (happy birthday, Travis!) of Beyond the Quail fame joined James and myself on a little research expedition to Saxon + Parole restaurant where we tried many garden-inspired cocktails. (Did I hear someone talking about moderation just now?..) The full report is forthcoming but here’s the cocktail I liked the most there: Pickled Ramp Gibson.
What’s a Gibson? Or The Gibson, to call it by its proper name? It’s just a martini garnished with pickled onions instead of olives. There are a few amusing stories about its invention but as far as the recipe goes, you shake (or stir) 2-2.5 oz of gin (or vodka) with 0.5-1 oz (or just a mist) of dry vermouth with ice (adding some brine if you like playing dirty), strain it into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a cocktail onion.
And if you want your gibson extra delicious, substitute the onion for a pickled ramp, as the grandmasters of mixology of Saxon+Parole do. According to their cocktail menu, their Pickled Ramp Gibson ($14) consists of Bombay Sapphire ‘East’, Dolin Blanc, AND dirty ramp juice.
Sometimes you drink to forget but there are times when drinks help you remember something important. In my case, I remembered that almost 2 months ago I bought a bunch of ramps and only used the green parts, saving the bulbs for planting in the garden. So, there were ramp bulbs sitting in the fridge, waiting patiently to be released into the feral ground… I’m glad I had that cocktail!
2 years ago I already planted some ramp bulbs in the woods, and they’ve been coming back each spring. This year, I thought I’d plant more but forgot. Luckily, they seem to have kept rather well in the fridge. I instagrammed them before planting — a very important step.
Ramps are called wild leeks but I assume the ones you buy in a store have been domesticated… So, I made a new bed yesterday, in a shady spot under an old apple tree.
The rocks for making this new terrace serendipitously unearthed themselves right where I was digging. I just had to rearrange them into a little wall. I added some peat moss to the soil to make it a bit looser and planted the ramp bulbs 1-2 inches deep, with their tops reaching the surface.
I hope they like their new home and we’ll have enough ramps for pickling in no time! By the way, if you have a good ramp pickle recipe, please share!