Vigna del Sole FarmsteadLavender syrup
Michelle and Steve Silva purchased a large parcel on the border of Lodi and Acampo a couple of years ago and immediately got to work on their event venue business. Michelle looked at all the unused acreage they had and came up with the idea of a lavender farm and it wasn’t long before they started the Lavender Market.
The acres of blooming lavender not only make for a lovely background for the special events, like weddings, but are the key ingredient in products like linen spray, candles, body products, shortbread cookies, muffins, and a lavender blossom cream cake.
They also make a lavender syrup fresh to order that can be used in a variety of recipes from lattes to pancakes to marinades. Made from dried culinary English Lavender and white sugar, the syrup made for the perfect mixer to make a Lavender Mojito, giving the cocktail a touch of sweetness and a light floral aroma that mixes well with the fresh mint. The lavender syrup is $12 for 5-ounce bottle. It is made to order, so it has to be ordered in advance and picked up at the shop.
Vigna del Sole Farmstead is located at 21999 N. Ray Road in Lodi.
For more information visit www.vignadelsole.com.
2 ounces white rum
1 ounce lime juice (1 medium lime)
1 and 1/2 Tbsp lavender syrup
Dash of Chambord
5 fresh mint leaves
Club soda to top off
Muddle the mint and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add in lavender syrup, chambord, rum and ice. Cover and shake well. Pour into glass.
Homestead FavoritesCherry Pepper Jelly
Every spring Charlyn Hulsman takes the cherries harvested from the orchards in Linden and turns them into delicious arrays of jellies and chutneys.
Hulsman’s father Karl Potter Grupe planted the orchard in 1960 and many of the original trees bear pounds of cherries that are shipped around the world. Hulsman and her mother would save some to make jellies for family and friends and now that tradition has turned into a successful cottage business.
“Our entire family, the 4th, 5th and 6th generations, are involved in the many aspects of the harvest,” Hulsman said. “The grandchildren sometimes play more than work, but they are learning the importance of being an active participant in the family operation.”
Homestead Favorites produces cherry jelly, cherry pepper jelly and cherry chutney, with individual jars retailing at $8 each. The ways these products can be used are far greater than just a topping for toast. Hulsman said they have used both jelly flavors in various cocktail recipes, like martinis. The cherry pepper jelly turned out to be a perfect mixer for a margarita, pairing well with tequila and giving it just the right kick. This is a great option for those who like heat and if you can tolerate more, add another spoonful.
Homestead Favorites is sold at shops and wineries all over the 209 area. For more information and a listing of retail locations, visit www.homesteadfavorites.com.
Cherry Pepper Margarita
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce orange liqueur
1/2 ounce cherry pepper jelly
Rim the glass with sugar. Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake. Pour over a glass of ice and garnish with a lime or a mini pepper.
Reigning Bees ApiaryLocal Raw Honey
This cottage business located in Sutter Creek may be somewhat new to the business of bees, but it’s quickly growing a list of fans clamoring for products like the raw organic honey, natural beeswax and 100% natural lip balm butter.
The honey and other products are sold at farmers’ markets in Amador County and can be found at some shops, like Roots and Wings Farmhouse Market in Sutter Creek, where a jar retails for $16.95.
The honey is incredibly smooth and when made into a simple syrup, it was the perfect mixer to make a classic Bees Knees cocktail. The honey flavor paired with the freshness of the gin makes this a perfect spring and summer cocktail.
For more information follow Reigning Bees Apiary on Facebook or Instagram at reigning_bees_apiary.
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce honey syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
Lemon twist for Garnish
To make honey syrup mix equal parts honey and water and warm in the microwave or on the stove top. Can be made in advance and stored in refrigerator. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add in gin, honey syrup and lemon juice. Shake well and then strain into a glass. garnish with a lemon twist.
Nutcher Milk Company
Root Beer Milk
Third-generation dairyman Rick Nutcher started Nutcher Milk Company in Modesto in 2000 and in 2015 the family started their own creamery because they were nostalgic for the quality of farm-to-table milk. The milk sold in the old-fashion glass bottles have become a favorite among locals, with close to 7,000 gallons produced daily.
Nutcher Milk offers a wide array of flavors, like chocolate, orange cream, cotton candy, root beer and strawberry milk. They also make seasonal offerings like pumpkin spice and eggnog-flavored milk.
Nutcher said he is a fan of root beer and jumped at the chance to offer that flavor.
“To me, I think it tastes like the bottom half of a root beer float when everything is all mixed together,” Nutcher said.
The root beer milk made for an excellent addition when making a grown-up version of a root beer float with vanilla vodka.
Nutcher Milk can be found at several grocery stores in the 209 area. For a list of stores where you can purchase Nutcher Milk, visit www.nutchermilk.com/where-to-buy.
Root beer float grown up edition
2 ounces vanilla vodka
1-2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 cup root beer milk
1 ounce kalhua
Add ice, vodka, ice cream and root beer milk to a blender and blend. Pour into a tall glass, top with whip cream and then pour kalhua over cream and into the drink. Top with marschino cherry.
If you want to make your cocktail really authentic to the 209, then try it in a glass that has been etched by Amador County artist Kat Leon. She offers custom-made glassware for wine, cocktails and beer. This poppy design is special to the Made in Amador shop. Her other designs can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/SunsetHillDesigns.