Friday, June 28, 2024

Book Review: Botanical Cocktails by Tenae Stewart

Book Review: Botanical Cocktails by Tenae Stewart
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am sure many of you are well aware of Tenae Stewart, the Witch of Lupine Hollow. Tenae has been such a wonderful force in the occult community and continues to share her knowledge and build community with other witches, astrologers, and spiritual people. Over the past couple of years, she has authored three books, her latest being Botanical Cocktails: 50 Garden-to-Glass Beverages for Every Season. I'm not going to lie, I am not really into alcoholic drinks, but knew I wanted to support Tenae's continued work when I was asked if I would like to review her latest book. I'm certainly glad I did!

Botanical Cocktails begins with a brief introduction in which she discusses her philosophy and approach to spirituality which focuses on self-care. This has always been central to her practice and while it may seem like cocktails wouldn't fit into this model, she argues that joy and celebration of the seasons certainly do and therefore cocktails become a part of magical self-care. I agree and believe joy is a central pillar of self-care and spirituality, especially in light of the current atrocities facing our world. Unlike other recipe books, however, Tenae presents these recipes as seasonal rituals, incorporating magical correspondences and mindfulness into the act of preparing each cocktail. This brief introduction is followed by an overview of the different tools, alcoholic and non-alcoholic bases, and plant profiles of the different herbs, spices, and fruits found in the recipes. As a person who is woefully unprepared to make cocktails, these first couple of chapters were incredibly helpful and provided me with the knowledge necessary to create the recipes in this book as well as create my own recipes.

The remaining chapters are dedicated to the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Each chapter includes between 12 and 13 recipes that are magically aligned with the season in question, each using seasonal ingredients as well to reduce your impact on the environment. The recipes are simple and straightforward, making them easy to follow for novices like myself. There are even mocktail instructions for every single recipe in the book, so if you are like me and don't drink, you can still enjoy these seasonal delights. Many of the recipes call for club soda instead of certain alcohol, which I don't particularly like as I prefer sweet drinks over dry ones. If you are like me and prefer sweet, zero-sugar Sprite (or regular) makes an excellent substitute. The book is also full of beautiful, full-color pictures, including pictures of the different recipes to give you an idea of what they should look like. As a very visual person, I need pictures for recipes. There aren't pictures for all of them, but there are enough to satisfy me.

The end of the book includes an appendix which is extremely helpful. Here you can find a complete list of the recipes with page numbers by season, recipes by plant, recipes by alcohol, and a metric conversion guide for those of you on the metric system.

Botanical Cocktails: 50 Garden-to-Glass Beverages for Every Season by Tenae Steward is an excellent book for any kitchen or green witch, as well as any witch who loves to celebrate the seasons with cocktails and mocktails or entertain others. I can't wait to start trying some of the recipes. I am especially interested in trying Savannah Nights which includes peaches, one of my favorite summertime fruits, and was inspired by one of my favorite cities, Savannah! (I got engaged in Savannah last December and we visit at least once a year.) You can preorder a copy of Botanical Cocktails now with a set release date of July 2, 2024!

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