The end of the gardening season is here, so it's time to make the most of your herb garden.
Some people have herb gardens for salads or pasta sauce; ours exists almost exclusively for cocktails. And as summer winds to an end, our herbs are growing out of control. So we’re putting them to use with three super-herbal drinks starring basil, rosemary, and thyme. Break out your muddler and give them a try.
NOTE: You’ll never find garnishes this perfect with grocery store herbs, so make sure those garnishes are nice and dramatic.
The bright, piney scent of rosemary is unmistakable, and we like using it in otherwise straightforward cocktails, where it truly shines; this simple rosemary lemonade is perfect. Gin or white rum would work well here, too, but vodka keeps things nice and easy-drinking.
Instructions: Pull off the needles of a long sprig of rosemary, and muddle them hard in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add 1 1/2 ounces of vodka, 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 an ounce simple syrup. Add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with 3 ounces of club soda. Garnish with a big rosemary sprig.
G + G + T + T
Here, we’re taking a good old Gin & Tonic and tweaking the formula: Red grapes add a juicy flavor and a pop of color, while thyme adds strong, friendly aromatics that work perfectly with herbal gin.
Instructions: Muddle 5 red grapes in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add 1 1/2 ounces of gin (we’re using Beefeater), 1/2 an ounce fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 an ounce honey syrup (honey cut in a 1:1 ratio with hot water). Drop in 5 short sprigs of thyme. Add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with 1 ounce of tonic. Garnish with a few more grapes and lots more thyme.
Tequila is another spirit that pairs well with herbs, so here, we’re matching it with basil—plus lime and cucumber for a most refreshing drink. Despite two full ounces of tequila, these go down awfully easy.
Instructions: Cut a one-inch segment of cucumber into quarters and muddle hard in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add 5 torn basil leaves and gently muddle a bit more. Add 2 ounces of silver tequila (Patrón Roca is our go-to), 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, and 1/2 an ounce agave syrup (agave nectar cut in a 1:1 ratio with hot water). Add ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with ice, and garnish with basil and cucumber.