Every week, Link Love introduces you to a blogger whose recipes made us hungry.
Meet Jayme Henderson, blogger of Holly & Flora. Jayme is a professional sommelier, busy pairing wines with chef specials all day at an upscale Denver restaurant—but on her blog, she creates beautiful seasonal drinks that can be enjoyed any time of the year. When she's not sipping fruity reds and delicate whites, you can find Jayme in the garden. Her garden is the inspiration for many of her drinks that have an herby touch, like her Honeydew, Shiso and Kiwi Sake Cocktails featuring Japanese shisho leaves. The honeydew and kiwi are muddled, then combined with sake, gin, and shiso drinking vinegar. Jayme has a clever palate when it comes to blending and balancing various alcohols to make a drink that is refreshing, slightly acidic, sweet, savory, and fruity—all in one sip.
Here are a few words from Jayme:
I started my blog simply because I wanted to keep a record of what I was growing, harvesting, and making each season. I had kept a hand-written garden journal for years, but my aunt, who is a painter, pattern designer, and blogger, encouraged me to document the creative happenings from my home. My garden is my true inspiration, and over the years, it has transformed to become more and more cocktail-friendly—herbs, vegetables, fruits, and edible flowers dominate the scene.
During the summer months, my inspiration tends to be based on what’s ripe in the garden or what’s fresh at the farmers market. The liqueurs and infusions that I craft during this time become my staples in the winter months. For each specific drink, an initial ingredient usually catches my mind’s eye, whether it be a spirit or something fresh. I start jotting down potential ideas for the other components of the cocktail, beginning with the complementary pairings, while always trying to come at the idea from some other angles as well. Sometimes, seemingly contrasting flavors tend to create the most dramatic results, and I particularly love finding harmony between opposing flavor profiles.
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I just love herbaceous, complex cocktail components, like gins, bitter amari, shrubs, and liqueurs. These are the elements that really entice me and fuel my creativity. I rarely use relatively neutral spirits, like vodka, but when I do, I tend to infuse or pair them with something dramatic.
The initial ingredient for this unique cocktail was the shiso drinking vinegar. I’ve been fascinated with drinking vinegars since my first visit to Pok Pok in Portland. They’re sour, racy, mouthwatering, and the perfect vehicle for almost any infusion. This particular version is intensely aromatic, with high-toned herbal notes. I’m inspired by regional pairings, so sake was my very first thought, and the particular style of sake I wanted to use was rich with melon and kiwi flavors, which led to the next ingredients. It was certainly the most interesting thing to come out of my kitchen that week!