Corey MacDonald and her team at Red Root & Co. are doing something truly unique. Using high quality ingredients from the garden and the forest, they blend tradition and innovation just for your palate. Their delightful herbal infusions are delicious and nourishing.
Corey: We use whole botanicals (no juices or extracts), honey to lightly sweeten, small batch processing, and each recipe is infused with my background in herbalism. Flavor is one dimension of a fruit, vegetable, or herb; but, knowing various essences of plants helps create an elevated product. In the cocktail realm, it is nice to use pure ingredients—the flavors are superior and it’s a bonus to feel good about our indulgences.
Red Root desires to “connect people to plants with nourishing, delicious and delightful herbal infusions.” Corey says it perfectly: “Plants change lives.”
Corey: Just think of the way flowers make people feel—they bring smiles, lift spirits, warm hearts. Red Root & Co. increases the positive experiences people have with plants. Our food system has gotten a little out of whack, which has impacted both human and environmental health. People are making choices each day to encourage healthier growth. Being a producer is a joyful place to be, supporting connections and opening opportunities for education and empowerment.
Mixing up cocktails may not be everyone’s glass of bubbly, but Corey encourages keeping it simple and starting with something you already enjoy. To first-timers, Corey simply says, “Have fun!”
Corey: Cocktail making is entertaining and delicious. If you like a Gin & Tonic, try making it with additional ingredients or swap out one ingredient for another. Perhaps substitute the part of the tonic with elderflower soda or add drops of fruity, floral bitters. Bitters can round out a cocktail, similar to finishing a culinary dish with salt. Try trading lemon or lime juice for a bright flavored shrub can mix-up a drink. Playing and experimenting is a great approach to making drinks.
Corey is drawn to lighter spirits, ciders, and wines that bring in the flavors of the season. She suggests starting summer with sangria.
Corey: Sangria is easy to make for a group, incorporates Virginia summer berries and fruit, and is refreshing. Drinks like this are nice with summer’s bounty—grilled or roasted veggies, fresh pico de gallo wrapped in a warm tortilla. Below are some recipes she developed especially for the Co-op’s quarterly publication, Craft & Cork.
BELGIAN CITRUS SANGRIA
2 T Orange Marigold Shrub
T Summer Oxymel
1 Fat Tire Belgian White Ale
2 T Sweet Vermouth
¼ cup Berries, any type
2 Orange slices
Combine shrub, oxymel, vermouth, berries and orange slices in a small bowl. Refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to infuse. Divide fruit mixture between 2 wine glasses and add 6oz of Ale. Squeeze an orange wedge over each glass and gently stir to combine.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB BUBBLY
2 T Rhubarb Verbena Shrub
10 drops Hopnotch Bitters
250mL Archer Roose Bubbly
½ cup Strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 Lemon Slices
Divide strawberries and shrub between two, 6 or 8 oz glasses. Mash mixture with muddler. Add lemon slice to each and mash a little further to release flavor. Add several ice cubes to each glass, then fill with sparkling wine, and add 5 drops of Hopnotch Bitters to each glass.
BLACKBERRY CIDER MULE
2 T Blackberry Mint Shrub
12oz Big Pippin Ginger Hard Cider
Splash of Elderflower Soda or Ginger Beer, to taste
Squeeze of Lime Wedge
Blackberries to garnish
Fill 2 copper mugs with ice. Divide and pour in the shrub, cider, and squeeze of lime. Add elderflower soda or ginger beer and gently swirl to mix. Garnish with blackberries.