The Gatekeeper – A Practical Magic New England Cocktail

It is fall in New England, harvest time. Make sure you prepare your Sacred Rosemary Syrup before it freezes! Or otherwise, bring your rosemary plants indoors – they will grow in a sunny window. Well actuall, in my experience, it will grow for a little while then it will get leggy and stressed by spring. But that is why you ought to bring it in in the fall (before it freezes), give it a good haircut and make use of all those amazing oils in the leaves while you can. Then enjoy these classic new england cocktails.

The gatekeeper seasonal cocktail by joy flanigan featuring the classic New England Harvest.
The Gatekeeper- a seasonal cocktail by joy flanigan featuring the classic New England Harvest.

I wanted the latest seasonal cocktail to feature a classic New England harvest – fall’s little red gems, cranberries!

The best juice, hands down, comes from RIPE Bar Juice which cold presses fruit giving it lasting freshness.  It’s available online or at Whole Foods. Square One Vodkas are made with all organic ingredients and offer some really beautiful flavors, such as those used here.  I simmered a sprig of fresh rosemary with a cup of sugar and a cup of water to make a woody syrup to complement the ingredients.  Rosemary was valued by the ancients of many cultures as a sacred plant that could impart peace to both the living and the dead.  They say planting it by your garden gate convinces witches and evil spirits to tread elsewhere.

The Gatekeeper – A Practical Magic-inspired Seasonal New England Cocktail

1 oz   Square One Botanical Vodka

.5 oz   Square One Organic Basil Vodka

.25 oz Aperol

3 oz   Cranberry Juice

.25 oz    Fresh Lemon Juice

.25 oz   Rosemary Syrup

Dash of  Peychaud’s Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice, and serve over ice.

by Joy Flanagan

Editor’s note: Organic Nation vodka is also organic and quite tasty…and I happened to have had a tiny bottle on hand to use in this photo!  But unfortunately Organic Nation Spirits (a small batch distiller in Oregon) closed last year despite many awards for their product.  I find their story of not being able to compete against the big players particularly distressing — BUY LOCAL!  

Also – Peychauds Bitters…I didn’t have it on hand, and my local didn’t either (so I subbed)….but Amazon.

And lastly – Was this recipe inspired by Practical Magic? And should you keep rosemary by the garden gate? 1) Yes. 2) Um, sure – I guess if you think that pests and evil spirits are actually going to have the good manners to come through the door.

“Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.”

Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

More rosemary and seasonal cocktail posts:


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  1. I think I’ve found my Thanksgiving cocktail!


  2. Ann Monville says:

    I’m running outside to harvest my rosemary on the porch. I’m so lucky we’ve had a mild winter until now, so it’s still growing!

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