The west side of The Sea Ranch hugs rocky bluffs along the Pacific Ocean, but our Eastern border is far more than it would appear. A casual glance at a map of the area would show that the Gualala River snakes along the opposite flank, but in reality it is so much more and (possibly) more insidious. This is the home of The San Andreas Fault, or, as I like to call it: our angry, sleeping neighbor to the East.
During the 1906 earthquake the Pacific Plate moved Northwest while the North American Plate moved Southeast. The ground stretched, rocks were pulverized into fine sediment and rains began to fill in the depressions left by the upheaval. These areas exist on The Sea Ranch to this day and dependent upon the time of year they can be miniature swamps or the largest mud pits you’ve ever seen.
These sag ponds are special spots full of unique life and ecosystems. Salamanders, toads, frogs, birds and various insects all call the sag ponds home. Its always a special treat to see schools of tadpoles nervously lurching in the shallow waters, telling tales of more frogs yet to come. There’s a hint of salty ocean air in the mix, despite the fact that the Pacific Ocean can be about a mile away and a certain serenity rules amongst their verdant landscapes.
I’ve often found myself looking to nature for inspiration while I’ve been dreaming up cocktails for Seedlip’s Distilled Non-Alcoholic Spirits, and when the sag ponds came to mind I knew that they needed to be honored with a cocktail all to themselves.
Soaked chia seeds stand in for the tadpoles, creating a unique mouthfeel while the Seedlip Garden 108 supplies the verdancy. Don’t look at me all crazy-like about the sauerkraut brine…the internet is full of cocktail recipes that call for brine. Its hardly a new idea. You’ll have better results with sauerkraut or pickle brine from batches you’ve made yourself, but there’s always the Sonoma Brinery if you go the store-bought route. Lastly, the tablespoon of London Dry Gin ties everything together and makes it obvious that you’re sipping on a variation of a Martini—albeit one with a surprising textural element often overlooked in such concoctions.
If you should find yourself in the Mendonoma area, be sure to head on over to Surf Market to get a bottle or two of Seedlip, some Salt Point Seaweed Kombu, maybe a batch of Sonoma Brinery’s Sauerkraut or Dill Pickles and the rest of the supplies you’ll need!
Stay tuned to this channel over the next few weeks as I whip up Seedlip cocktails, mocktails and even a few surprises that will bridge the gap between your glass and your dinner plate.
Seedlip Sag Pond
PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES ● SERVES 4
- Apéritif or Martini
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- 1 cup Seedlip Garden 108
- 4 teaspoons sauerkraut or pickle brine
- 4 tablespoons London Dry Gin
- Place the chia seeds into a large bowl or mason jar and pour 1 cup of Seedlip Garden 108 over them.
- Allow the seeds to soak until they take on a texture similar to cooked tapioca pearls, approximately 20 minutes.
- Carefully spoon the soaked seeds into four Apéritif or Martini glasses. Reserve any remaining soaked chia seeds for another use—they can last for up to 5 days stored in a sealed container in your fridge.
- Add 1 teaspoon of brine and 1 tablespoon of London Dry Gin to each glass and gently stir.
- Garnish each glass with a thin slice of pickled kombu and a ginger matchstick.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.