From Garden to Glass
May 15, 2011 4:27 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite cocktails with fresh herbs?

I've been building up an herb garden with mostly perennial herbs, and I'm looking for delicious cocktails to make with the herbs. My preferences run toward the not-too-sweet.

I've got a few kinds of mint, but I'm looking to go beyond that. I've also got thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and sage. I'm willing to plant other Pacific Northwest-appropriate herbs for cocktails, but only if they're perennials, because I'm fundamentally lazy.

So far, The Capote Martini is pretty good but sort of uninspiring.
posted by gurple to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
I like to put fresh basil in with the mint leaves in a mojito.
posted by gauche at 4:36 PM on May 15, 2011

Basil is pretty sweet in a Bloody Mary. I had a cocktail at a party that was a rosemary simple syrup, lemon juice, vodka and club soda that was quite delicious. A lot of hip bars use shisho in cocktails that usually call for mint.

Martha Stewart has a basil cocktail that looks good. I've never had it, though.
posted by Lame_username at 4:47 PM on May 15, 2011

Someone recommended fresh mint + gin + lemonade in this comment, and it was delicious. I also have friend who makes something fantastic with gin and fresh basil, but I don't know anything about his recipe.
posted by Vibrissa at 4:47 PM on May 15, 2011

Ever had a Sage Rush? Muddle a couple of sage leaves in a shaker, combine with 1 part gin, 1 part grapefruit juice and ice. Shake, strain and serve.
posted by indubitable at 4:48 PM on May 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Rosemary and lemon go well together.
posted by scribbler at 5:33 PM on May 15, 2011

Lavender. Lavender muddled with sugar with Lemon and Gin or Vodka? Yes, please. So good on a hot July day. (Not that we are going to get any this summer, but we can pretend)
posted by Maude_the_destroyer at 5:35 PM on May 15, 2011

Missed Opportunity! Muddle a sage leaf in a cocktail shaker, then add 1 shot gin, 1 shot St. Germain, juice of 1/2 lemon, and a little bit of simple syrup. Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with another sage leaf. Delicious!
posted by rossination at 5:42 PM on May 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

You will want to try Pimm's if you haven't already; cucumber and mint with ginger ale or lemonade or Sprite/7-Up. Often called a Pimm's cup. Where I grew up, a "floatie," as you stuffed a mug with sliced fruits, berries, cucumber slices and mint, and fit the Pimm's and mix in around your floating...snack. Lots of opportunities in a 'floatie' for even a novice gardener as the cucumber, mint and berries that work so well are among the easiest things to grow.
posted by kmennie at 5:46 PM on May 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

So far, The Capote Martini is pretty good but sort of uninspiring.

The banana is technically an herbaceous plant (or 'herb'), not a tree, because the stem doesn't contain true woody tissue. In his later life, Mr. Capote was known to blend a banana into half a bottle of whiskey as an eye opener.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:51 PM on May 15, 2011

A bar near my house offers Szechuan Buzz Buttons with cocktails.
posted by mkb at 6:13 PM on May 15, 2011

There's a bar in Dallas that does all sorts of cocktails with random ingredients each week. Here are some examples that you might be able to work with...

Basil Gimlet - Gin, basil, lime, cucumber
Garden Gimlet - Gin, lime, ginger syrup, cucumber, mint
Rio Star - Gin, lemon, grapefruit, basil, bitters

Not the most creative, but gin seems to be a good starting point.
posted by SNWidget at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2011

I agree with the Pimm's Cup recommendation. However, I strongly suggest using a high-quality ginger ale in place of the 7-up. This is the perfect warm weather drink.
posted by driley at 7:07 PM on May 15, 2011

Mint julep, whisky sour with a bunch of basil, any savoury herb in a bloody mary
posted by Bergamot at 9:02 PM on May 15, 2011

Response by poster: All good stuff, here. I clearly need to explore gin -- it's not my base of choice, but it sounds like it'll work best with these herbs. I'll look into growing shiso, too. Thanks, all!
posted by gurple at 9:24 PM on May 15, 2011

Basil goes very nicely with lime in my experience - why not muddle some leaves in with a nice gin rickey?

And if you're going to follow dflemingecon's advice and throw some cucumber in your G+T, it's definitely worth checking out Hendrick's gin. It's a really unusual gin that's infused with cucumber as well as more standard botanicals. It's a delicious drink - and if you're not normally a big fan of gin, it could well surprise you.
posted by Ted Maul at 1:56 AM on May 16, 2011

Pineapple and mint go well together. I like it as straight juice, but you could certainly throw some vodka or whatever in there. If you really like some bite, add fresh ginger before you blend it up.
posted by wallaby at 3:53 AM on May 16, 2011

I like to muddle chocolate mint leaves from the garden in my martini.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:19 AM on May 16, 2011

Further to driley's notes -- yes. Supplies for cottage floaties were limited (I remember liking powdered packet cocktail mixes in them then; it was another era...) but nowadays -- Fever Tree! Their ginger ale is so spectacular I'm often hesitant to adulterate it, but it does elevate one's cocktail. The bitter lemon is also a delight.

(Pimm's is gin-based but does not really register as 'gin,' at least not to the extent you might expect)
posted by kmennie at 7:06 AM on May 16, 2011

Jamie Boudreau likes to flame and rim with rosemary a lot. Here's one example.
posted by ifjuly at 1:41 PM on May 16, 2011

Oh, and basil simple syrup is good to make an altered gimlet/rickey-type drink. Infusing rimming sugar or simple syrup is an easy versatile way to use fresh herbs.
posted by ifjuly at 1:42 PM on May 16, 2011

Curried gin martinis work suprisingly well. I like Tanqueray's Rangpur lime gin for the spirit.
posted by benzenedream at 3:36 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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