Wood Sorrel Gin Smash

Wood Sorrel Gin Smash

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Although this holiday is traditionally associated with the shamrock or clover, where I live wood sorrel is easier to find and forage. Both plants are edible and both have three leaves, but an easy way to tell the difference is that wood sorrel has heart-shaped leaves.

clover vs. wood sorrelclover (Trifolium) on the left // wood sorrel (Oxalis) on the right

Wood sorrel is also known as sour grass and I especially like using it in drinks because it has a tart, refreshing flavor that can complement or take the place of other sours like lemon or lime. Look for it in moist, shady spots in forests or even your backyard from spring to summer. All wood sorrel species are edible — from the leaves to the stems and flowers — although some are more palatable than others. If you encounter some, just give it a nibble and see if you like it. (Note that wood sorrel is high in oxalic acid and should be avoided or used sparingly if you have kidney stones.)

wood sorrelIreland? No, Los Angeles!

I hiked over to one of my favorite neighborhood gathering spots and harvested a few handfuls to make some festive green cocktails. Here’s a simple one to highlight your favorite gin — I used St. George Botanivore.

Wood Sorrel Gin Smash

1 generous handful wood sorrel leaves and stems
1 ounce simple syrup (see below)
2 ounces gin
Sprigs of wood sorrel, for garnish

Place the wood sorrel and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add the gin and fill the shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly, and strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with wood sorrel.

Makes 1 drink

Simple Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for another minute. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Makes about 1 cup


Griffith Park Plant Walk: 3.21.15

Griffith Park

Griffith Park Plant Walk
Saturday, March 21, 10am-12pm
Los Angeles, CA

The winter rains have brought an abundance of edible and medicinal plants to Southern California! On this plant walk I’ll show you how to identify many common “weeds” with tips on how to use them for food, drinks, and herbal remedies. In addition, we explore wildcrafting and foraging ethics and ways to connect with nature in our urban environment. I will also bring a wild drink for everyone to sip.

Limited to 20 people. We will walk approximately 2 miles with the option of hiking a steep slope. Wear comfortable shoes and bring water. You may also wish to bring sunglasses, hat, camera/phone, and notebook.

Secure your spot: Griffith Park Plant Walk

Griffith Park Plant Walk


Silver Lake Plant Walk: 3.1.15

Silver Lake Salad

Silver Lake Plant Walk
Sunday, March 1, 10am-12pm
Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA

Recent rains have brought an abundance of edible and medicinal weeds to our urban environment! On this plant walk – dubbed the “Silver Lake Salad Tour” – I will guide you through some secret stairs and wild pockets of Silver Lake. Along the way you will learn how to identify, wildcraft, and use many wonderful plants. We will end the walk with an amazing view, a nibble of our foraged salads, and a refreshing wild drink.

Limited to 15 people. We will meet in front of the Silver Lake Library and walk an approximately 2.5-mile loop with stairs. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a small bowl for collecting your salad and a fork. You may also wish to bring water, camera/phone, and notebook.

Secure your spot: Silver Lake Plant Walk

Silver Lake Plant Walk