Weekends during the spring and summer are often filled with trips to the farmers market or harvesting the wonders of your newly planted garden. Both locations offer a bounty of fresh herbs that just beg to be mixed into an array of cocktails. Herbs can add so much flavor to your cocktails whether they are muddled into the drink, cooked into a syrup or used simply for garnish for a fragrant hint of garden goodness. Follow us on a cocktail journey through your garden and you’ll be thrilled at how quickly you’ll be running out for that last snip of mint during a friend-filled Friday night bash!
The Good Stuff Exclusive Cocktail Recipe: Springtime Smash
Sometimes the simplest of things can bring the utmost of pleasure. Take this 3-ingredient wonder, which transitions your winter bourbon into summertime brilliance. The addition of St. Germain brings the honey-scented elderflower into your cocktail, catapulting your bourbon into the flavors of summer. All you need to add is a few fresh sprigs of lavender from the garden, which, when combined with a lemon twist, create the perfect herbal swizzle stick for this delicious drink.
TOOLS: Mixing glass, bar spoon, strainer
EXTRAS: Fresh sprig of lavender, lemon peel, large ice cubes (they minimize melting)
SERVINGS: 2 cocktails
5 oz. Bourbon (we used Knob Creek here)
1 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
4 dashes Angostura bitters
HOW TO MAKE IT:
Add bourbon, St. Germain and bitters to an ice-filled mixing glass. Using barspoon, stir until very well chilled, approximately 30 rotations. Strain cocktails into ice-filled glasses. Using lavender sprigs and lemon, swizzle cocktail gently to release flavors. Leave garnish in glass.
Now that you’ve raided your lavender plant, it’s time to use the leftovers to make some Lavender Syrup. This easy, make ahead syrup will save you time all spring since you can store it away in your fridge until you need it. And we’ve got two cocktails to get you started!
With the botanical qualities of gin and the addition of some club soda, this delish fizz will brighten your next day in the sun!
The word basil comes from the Greek meaning for “king” which may be why many chefs consider it the “king of herbs”. An extremely aromatic herb, basil has a scent of pepper, anise and even a little mint. The taste is sweet but savory which makes it an excellent ingredient in many cocktails.
This cocktail brings to life the bright and peppery taste of basil by adding gin and Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif wine knowns for it’s sweet and floral orange notes.
Another time-saving-three-ingredient cocktail awaits you and with this one, you get to muddle! Muddling herbs is a delicate process and you want to press the herbs gently into your ingredients until the fragrant oils are released. No need to grind and mash your herbs — just move them around and press lightly until you catch that delicious scent. Then you know you’re ready to mix that drink!
Blackberries are really, really good. They have a deliciously complex flavor, ranging from puckering-ly tart to an almost wine-like dark juice. They’re good for you too, filled with antioxidants. This cocktail will have you mixing up some fresh basil simple syrup and some cucumber juice to mix into a cocktail that’s well worth every second of preparation.
Fresh mint brightens, cools and refreshes everything from salads to cocktails. It always feels cool and yet it’s ever so slightly sweet as well. Mint plays up the luscious flavors of fruit and complements the rich warmth of many base spirits. No wonder it’s such a spring and summertime cocktail staple and thankfully it grows like a weed in your garden so you’ll never be short on supply! Such a classic herb deserves some classic cocktails, so here are a few for your springtime bar menu.
Mint Julep’s have been served as the signature drink at the Derby for ages and nothing beats tradition in a glass! Filled to the rim with all that crushed ice and mint you can’t go wrong betting on the flavor-packed Kentucky Mint Julep to take your spring soiree to the finish line.
Made with the wonderfully refreshing spirit called Cachaca, this drink is Brazil’s national cocktail. This version, brought to you by Jamie Oliver, adds mint into the mix and feels just like summer in a glass.
Mojitos are a spring and summer classic! We created this version to bring the minty goodness of a mojito into your spring but added strawberries & lemons for a new twist on a classic.
If you haven’t started your backyard herb garden yet, fear not! Your local Farmer’s Market will likely have everything you need to bring some herbs into your cocktail routine. If you’re looking to take advantage of the bounty of the farmer’s market and still stick to your grocery budget, check out our 10 Tips for Saving Big at the Farmer’s Market article here.