See you in Seattle? Plus: Plants in Bottles and How to Organize Them


I’m in Seattle this week at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.  Are you there too?  Come see me!

February 21 2013 03:15 PM — Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle, WA
The Backyard Bartender: Secrets to Mixing Creative Cocktails

February 22 2013 01:30 PM — Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle, WA
The Backyard Bartender: Secrets to Mixing Creative Cocktails

February 22 2013 04:30 PM — Northwest Flower & Garden Show, Seattle, WA
The Drunken Botanist: An Intoxicating Look at the World of Plants

So!  With all this cocktailing going on, you may be wondering what my liquor collection looks like these days.  Well, it’s a bit out of control.  When one is researching a book on botany and booze, one is required to have at least one example of how every plant might possibly be fermented, distilled, and bottled.

Which means that I have quite a few lovely bottles of stuff, and for a long time, I had nowhere to put them.

Liquor bottles don’t easily lay flat in racks the way wine bottles do.  For one thing, they’re all different sizes.  And for another, you tend to open a liquor bottle and not drink it all at once.  (at least, I hope you tend to do that.)  And if you lay it on its side after it’s opened, it can leak.

So what ends up happening is that either you have a deep cabinet or cupboard filled with bottles, and you’re constantly rummaging around to try to find the thing you need, or you have cardboard boxes from the liquor store lining the hallway.

I had both.

Now I have this.

I ordered these shelves online (I can no longer find the place where I ordered mine, but just search around for wall-mounted display shelves with a lip like these–or the more handy among you can just nail a little trim piece to a 5-6 inch deep board and make them yourselves.)

I mounted them to the wall with L-brackets and strung bungee cords across them to hold them in place.  (This is earthquake country, but I’d use them anyway–I put these shelves in the narrow hall between the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room, where they could easily get jostled.)

It’s a great setup, and it holds most of my collection.  The stuff that isn’t here includes assorted gins, vodkas, and whiskeys, which are stored in the aforementioned deep cabinets, which is not as big a deal because those are the staples around my house, and it’s no trouble for me to reach into the cabinet to find what I’m looking for.

So!  There’s my liquid plant collection for you.  Among the more wonderful items on the shelf:

Farigoule Thyme Liqueur

Averell Damson Plum Gin

and one of my favorite things in the world, the Italian Licore Strega.


  1. Hmm, not a bad idea, but after shelving my bourbons, there wouldn’t be any room left for anything else. Yes, there’s your rhubarb spirit and your artichoke spirit, but how about Mandragorea. They make one from it’s fruits both in Spain and Isreal, maybe other places too. But as to organization, it should be taxonomic. Let’s get busy.

  2. Be sure to go to the Zig Zag Cafe while you’re here in town. Murray has been consistently named one of the best bartenders in the country and best cocktail bar in America. It’s on the hillclimb

  3. What a shame I missed out on your talks. I should have booked more days at the nwfgs but Friday was the only one we had available. There was so much to see!

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