Can’t get out to the garden this season? Don’t have a garden? Don’t care at all about gardening?
All fine. We’ll do the weeding while you sit back and (literally) drink in the garden with these spring- and summer-perfect fresh herb cocktails. We’re not just talking Mojitos and Juleps, though those are fine, too. We’ve plundered the herb garden for everything from sage to shiso.
As for the spirit itself, you’ll find mostly gin and vodka—many gins have a botanical flavor to them, which will amplify the freshness of it all. And vodka is a key background player in many a summer drink, fortifying without stealing the show. Not that we’re suggesting you shouldn’t chuck some herbs in a whiskey drink. (See the last drink on the list.) It’s the warm weather season—if you’re wearing flip flops, you can basically do whatever you want. Except enter an Arby’s. We think…
Lillet is a delicate French aperitif wine with delicate citrus flavors, here played up with a splash of orange juice. A botanical gin would be a nice complement to the fresh basil and cucumber in the drink.
OK, if we’re talking “fresh herb” drinks, you know Martha’s gonna get at least two spots, right? Fresh thyme—as opposed to the dry stuff you rub all over your Thanksgiving turkey—is just enough to poke through the bright fresh lemon juice and gin in this adult take on a childhood classic. (Just don’t try to set up a stand.)
Sure, sharing our own link is like wearing the t-shirt of the band to the band’s concert. But this Pimm’s Cup is a classically fresh, herbal, summer-lovin’ drink, and this recipe was given to us by an actual British person. Who we, like, know.
A lovely sparkling cocktail with muddled fresh blackberries and Prosecco. Like most recipes that use fresh rosemary, this one tames the flavor by using it to infuse a syrup (as opposed to straight muddling). Though feel free to use as a garnish as well for nature swag points.
The fun of this recipe is you can basically sub in any fresh herbs you have on hand, though we liked the idea of fragrant sage with some raspberry and fresh lime juice. The vodka is optional, so feel free to make a mocktail for some sunny day sippin’.
Cilantro is one of those divisive herbs. Typically you either love it or hate it. If you find yourself in the former category, you’ll love this cocktail, which is ridiculously easy—made with actual limeade (though you can do fresh if you prefer)—vodka, and fresh cilantro. It practically screams for a porch and a taco.
Lavender, like rosemary, can be a bit too aggressive if you don’t handle it delicately. And just like the rosemary in the Blackberry Herb cocktail, the lavender here is used to infuse a syrup, in this case a honey syrup in this delicately floral take on a Prohibition-era classic.
Spring and summer are the season of the Mint Julep, the perfect time to try out this Asian variation, made with Hibiki Harmony Japanese whisky and fresh shiso leaves. Shiso, if you haven’t had it, is a popular Asian herb and member of the mint family, hence its appropriateness in the Julep. Though don’t expect straight mint. Shiso is its own thing entirely—and worth tasting—fresh, citrusy, delicately “green.” And a very good friend to whiskey and ice.