ISSUE 42  |  West Marin and Beyond

A Garden That Grows Cocktails

October 16, 2012 10:10 PM

BY Maria Finn

When Christopher Medlock James and Ames Morison transformed a century-old general store and saloon into a restaurant on the Alexander Valley Road in Sonoma, they also created a garden to grow ingredients for the cocktails they serve at the Medlock Ames speakeasy bar:

Photographs by Marla Aufmuth for Gardenista.

Above: The ranch, not open to the public, is where they grow grapes; it’s organically farmed and powered by solar energy. There’s an extensive edible garden at the ranch for employees, and the fruit from an orchard of olive trees gets pressed into olive oil. Small raised beds have domes for berries, olive trees, and a small bio-swale to catch and filter rain runoff.

The herb beds surround teepees of berries just out season. Framing the edge of the property are pineapple-guava orfeijoa bushes used in a “Kalihi Tai” drink similar to a Mai Tai.

Above: When the wine tasting room closes at 5 pm, the speakeasy cocktail bar opens.

Above: Fresh produce from the garden goes into seasonal cocktails. Bartender Kirsti Kinservik makes a LaVie (ingredients: Blade Gin, St. Germain, garden picked basil, fresh squeezed lemon. grapefruit juices, and peach bitters).

Above: A spicy margarita, also known as the “Pascual,” has peppers and cilantro from the garden.

Above: Ames Morison is the co-owner and wine maker for Medlock Ames.

Above: Borage is easy to grow, attracts bees and other pollinators, and has edible flowers.

Above: Borage flowers have a delicate, sweet flavor.

Above: Purple basil grows in the garden.

Above: Garde- inspired cocktails include Derby Days, with bourbon and sour cherries; a Ginger-Thyme Martini; a Kalihi Tai, and a Gin Simmons. For more, see “Restaurant Visit: Medlock Ames in Sonoma.”