If you're entertaining over the holidays or just having sundowners on the patio why not add some fresh herbs to your cocktail? It's all the rage right now and with some practice over the next few months, you'll be muddling and shaking like a pro come summer. Some of the herbs like mint in your Mojito are obvious but have thought of using something different?
Spice up your drinks trolley inspired by your herb garden. We could tell you how to grow them here but that's something we've written about before. This time we're going outside the planter box and trying out some herb based cocktail recipes. Muddle your herbs – crush them to release the flavour alternatively use a herb based syrup which will add sweetness as well as flavour to your mix. There's a simple syrup recipe at the end of the article :-)
Coriander or Cilantro by any other name:
Were planning our next drink off... will it be a Cilantro Margarita or a Leafy Vodka Lime. Let us know which your favourite is.
For your Margarita use a 3:2:1 recipe. 3 parts Tequila, 2 parts Triple Sec and 1 part Coriander syrup with a few fresh leaves shaken with ice and served over ice.
For the Leafy Vodka Lime use a 2:3:1 recipe. 2 parts Vodka, 3 parts Lime, 1 part soda and muddled coriander leaves to taste. Combine all the ingredients into a shaker with ice. Served without ice and a few fresh leaves added to the glass.
Sage is not just for making a stuffing:
Sage is such an interesting herb. On its own it has a subtle flavour but added to a cocktail it takes on a whole new flavour profile. A Berry Smash with Sage is first up and can be adapted with different berries fresh or juiced.
Our Berry Smash uses a 2:3:1 recipe. 2 parts Vodka, 3 parts Raspberry smash, 1 part lime and muddled Sage leaves to taste. First smash your berries to extract as much fresh juice, we love the tartness of the raspberry but this can be changed out for strawberries or juiced mixed berries. Combine all the ingredients into a shaker with ice. Served with ice and a dressed with a sprig in the glass.
Thyme spicing up your Gin:
Gin is one of those drinks that take to herbal flavourings very easily. Gin infused with lavender or with rooibos are well known and now classic combinations but have you added a bit of Thyme? Here you can play with green Thyme or the yellow leafed Lemon Thyme. We're making Grownup Lemonade.
Grownup Lemonade uses a 2:6:1 recipe. 2 parts Gin, 6 parts lemon smash, 1 part thyme syrup. Combine all the ingredients in a shake with ice. Strain over crushed ice and add a few sprigs of Thyme to lift the flavour.
Blueberries are not just for smoothies:
Did we hear a cork pop? Our hard to resist Blueberry Bubble cocktail uses Rosemary as it's herb companion. Rosemary in cocktails is quite strong and can easily overpower your drink. Use Rosemary in a syrup rather than fresh leaves.
Our Blueberry Bubble uses as 1:1:5 recipe. 1 part Blueberry muddle, 1 part rosemary syrup and 5 parts Prosecco. Mix your muddle and syrup and add your Prosecco as you serve to keep the bubbles vibrant. Swich out the Blueberries for Blackberries and if you want to go local use a Brut Sparkling Wine as an alternative to Prosecco.
Play with your Herbs.
Once you get the idea the garden is your oyster and you can experiment with different ones. A Blueberry and Basil Margarita sound like a plan.... Or an Orange peach and Rosemary swirl....
Mint is the only herb that goes with every cocktail but have you thought of adding it to white wine or into your beers. Guinness and Mint sounds like a green St Patricks Day party drink to me.
Time to play!
Our Tip: Add a sprig of the herb you've muddled through the drink to enhance the flavour through aroma
How did your cocktails turn out? Let us know by posting a pic on Instagram or Facebook, tagging us and using the hashtag #HerbCocktail we would love to see them.
Make your Herb Syrup
This simple 1:1:1 ratio which you can double or triple depending on how much you'll need.
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
1 Large handful of fresh herb leaves
Combine all three ingredients together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat until the sugar dissolved.
Remove from the heat and let it stand for 25 minutes.
Next strain the syrup through mesh sieve into a jar removing any leaves and sticks from the herbs. Seal and chill the mixture for at least 3 hours before using. Note: It stores in the fridge for up to 1 month