I am in love with "The Wildcrafted Cocktail" by Ellen Zachos. As a permaculturist you will drool at the pictures and be thrilled at the fantastic drinks you can make using ingredients from your forest garden....may be the reason that your neighbors will need to plant their own edible landscapes. Just wait until you enjoy your first Silverberry Sour (silverberry, autumn olive or goumi), Sumac Spritzer (sumac, of course), Stinger in the Rye (nettles), Cascadian Sour (Oregon Grape), Dirty Lily Bud (Martini with a pickled daylily bud), Frozen Persimmon Margarita, Butterfly Kiss (milkweed flowers), Shohola Scofflaw (cornelian cherries and cherry plums), Rose Sip 75 (rose hips and sumac), Two Sisters (schisandra), Don't Sass Me and Kiss My Sass (both containing sassafras), Puff of Smoke (flowering quince fruit), Round the Mulberry Bush (I'll make you guess that star of that one), Anti-Pina Colada (pinapple weed), the Merry Woodsman (spruce tips, elderflowers, wild ginger) and on and on and on....so many drinks have been added to my bucket list (I didn't even know I had a mixed drinks bucket list, but now I'm certain that I do)! Thank you Ellen :)
I'm in the middle of making elderflower champaign. It uses elderflowers which provide yeast on their pollen, along with sugar, applecider vinegar and lemons. I'm thinking that I'd like to try and substitute sumac for the lemons next year....what do you guys think? The elderflowers and sumac aren't ready at the same time so I'm wondering if dried sumac berries from the previous year would provide the same lemon punch as fresh. If not then maybe frozen elderflowers or sumac to bring them together? Opinions?
My opinion? Oh my I need this book! What a fun way to get my neighbors and family more interested in the odd plants I grow! I do not often drink, but my mom, who I live with, likes a small glass of wine as she reads in the evening, I bet she would be interested! I'm more a brewer than a drinker of what I brew.
I'm not certain what sumac berries taste like, but just being a bizarre cook type, I'd say freeze the sumac berries if you can, that would be the best flavor out of them, I can't imagine elderflowers being happy about being frozen, and you'd lose your wild yeasts. Dried berries would be below frozen for taste, you might have to add more of them than you'd guess at first to counteract the flavor loss.