In my humble opinion, cocktail gardens should be more of a thing. Yes, having a cocktail in your garden sounds wonderfully relaxing, but a garden devoted entirely to things that can go straight from the garden bed into your glass sounds very convenient. It can also be called “the bartender’s garden,” which sounds just as fun.
As with all herbs, these herbs need lots of sun and water to grow well enough to be suitable in a cocktail. If grown indoors, put them in a place that gets plenty of sun; perhaps on your kitchen window sill. Be sure to clean all herbs thoroughly before using them in your drink.
One very easy way to use herbs in cocktails is to make them into a simple syrup. Once you have grown your herbs of choice, bring water, sugar, and your cut herbs to a boil in a pot. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and let it sit for at least one hour. Strain the remaining liquid, and keep it refrigerated. You can do this with any herbs, such as lavender or sage.
Whether you have an entire garden bed devoted to these herbs or a container garden with a select few for the cocktails you love the most is entirely your choice. Here is a list of herbs that can be grown to put straight into your glass.
This one is a no brainer. Mint, which should be grown in a pot due to its very invasive nature, can go into almost any cocktail. There are many varieties of mint sold at garden centers, but the one most commonly used is spearmint for its bolder flavor. It can be muddled, it can be chopped finely and added into ice, or it can merely be a garnish.
Mint typically pairs well with cocktails that use rum or vodka. Use the mint in classic cocktails such as mojitos or mint juleps.
This herb has so many uses in the kitchen, but I never would’ve imagined putting it into a cocktail. Basil is a very hearty plant that needs a lot of sunlight, but very little water. Grow it in the garden, or on the sill, and not only will it be a great addition to your drink, but it is also a natural pest deterrent.
I recently muddled rosemary and mixed it with grapefruit juice, gin, and triple sec. The cocktail was very refreshing, and perfect for a warm summer day on the patio. Basil also mixes well with tequila-based cocktails.
I have had very little experience with using rosemary in drinks, but it is life changing. When growing rosemary, keep in mind that your plant can grow out, as well as up. It’s not as invasive as mint, but the plant itself can become more of a bush if left untrimmed. All the more reason to cut it and put it in your cocktail!
Try adding a sprig of it to an Italian Greyhound: grapefruit juice and vodka. The rosemary not only adds a beautiful pop of color, but also an earthy taste. A rosemary gin fizz is also delicious. It pairs very well with bourbon.
It could be said that lavender is one of the most popular and recognizable plants grown in the world. Its scent is just so soothing, and it has so many uses and benefits. Lavender does well in drier conditions with lots of sun and make sure it has good drainage.
Using it in a cocktail is easier when it is used as a simple syrup. For a refreshing spin on lavender lemonade, try this combination: lavender simple syrup, lemon juice, sparkling water, and gin. Use a sprig of it for garnish.
Like all other herbs, thyme needs plenty of sun, good drainage, and low watering to thrive. It is a slow growing plant and does well in garden beds with other herbs. Thyme is a strong herb and is perfect for muddling, but be sure to strain the drink before consumption.
It is the perfect addition to a classic cranberry and vodka. Also try it with blueberries, lemon, and prosecco for a light afternoon cocktail. Thyme also pairs well with whiskey cocktails.
I hope these cocktails whet your appetite. Salut!