Do basil, bay leaves and cardamom belong in your glass? Yes, these three recipes prove.

On a brief trip to India this year, I was taken with the local drinks. For such a sweltering country, cold drinks were oddly hard to come by--but unusual spices and herbs made the warm ones delicious and invigorating. I loved chai, the milky tea flavored with cardamom, cinnamon and coriander. Back home in Connecticut, I thought about cooling drinks with ice in them. Why not mix in spices, herbs or fruit? To a sugar-syrup base I added basil, mint, cilantro, lemon and soda (plus sometimes vodka). A concoction of blueberries and black plums fragrant with bay leaf has become my new Kir Royal. Or should I call it Kir Connecticut?