5 Cocktail Herb Garden Garnishes and Mixed Drink Ingredients You Can Grow Yourself


Why not make sure you have an herb garden that gives you the best cocktails possible?

While a well-mixed cocktail is a good thing, a well-mixed cocktail with homegrown garnish is even better. Which is where your herb garden comes in.

The beauty of cocktail garnishes is that you don’t need a lot of herbs, which means that a mixed drink herb garden can be as simple as a few pots in your kitchen window. Beyond garnishes, you can use your herbs as cocktail ingredients, either muddling them or making easy simple syrups.

Here are five herbs to make sure you have on hand and a few ideas for drinks to use them in.

1. Mint

Mint is probably the most classic of cocktail herbs, and since it’s easy to grow, it’s a must for your herb garden. Mojitos and mint juleps are of course the go-to mint drinks, but there’s much more that this herb can be used for. Muddle with blackberries and raspberries and top off with Cointreau for a seasonal drink or mix with lime and rum for an easy Mint Daiquiri.

2. Basil

An herb garden isn’t an herb garden without basil, and while the savory herb is most commonly associated with pesto and caprese salads, its strong flavor is a great pairing for mixed drinks. Basil works great as a simple syrup, or simply shaken like in this Lillet-Basil Cocktail.

3. Lemon Verbena

I bought a small lemon verbena plant earlier this spring to keep in my kitchen window, and it has since exploded. I love the bright citrus flavor that it adds to food and drink, it’s a great option for cocktails. You can muddle it into drinks, dry the leaves and make a lemon verbena sugar to be mixed with bourbon, or whip it into a simple syrup that can be used for things like a Lemon Verbena Gimlet.

4. Rosemary

An easy way to use rosemary is to crush it with vodka and let it sit and steep for awhile, like in this recipe for a Rosemary Ginger Cocktail from the Drunken Botanist. With a little grapefruit juice you can make a Rosemary Ruby Cocktail.

5. Lavender

If you are growing lavender, then you can easily make a lavender simple syrup, which can be used in a variety of drinks, like this Lavender Collins. With its floral taste, lavender pairs well with blackberries, blueberries and cherries; all good for a seasonal (and maybe even foraged) cocktail. Blueberry Lavender Vodka Spritzer or a glass of Lavender Champagne perhaps?

This is just the beginning; there are many more herbs out there. What herbs do you like in your cocktails? Share with us in the comments below!

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Image: Didriks

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.