Picture yourself on the patio, enjoying the summer breeze and the company of friends as you sip on a cool, refreshing cocktail that you created with the herbs from your garden. Herb inspired cocktails as well as handcrafted infused liqueurs are gaining popularity and with good reason. They are simple to make and a joy to share.
Fresh herbs can add flare and flavor to your typical cocktail recipes. Spice up a mojito with fresh spearmint or add some zip to strawberry lemonade with some basil or even cilantro. Crushed sage can bring out the flavor in your margarita. Who knew? If you're hesitant about using herbs as an ingredient in your cocktail, ease into it by using a sprig, leaf or a flower as a garnish. Herbs should be appreciated not only for their fresh flavor, but also for their intoxicating aroma and aesthetic appeal.
If you're feeling bold, try making an infusion to preserve the memory of your garden long after the summer has gone. Use a strong but basic alcohol like vodka, brandy, whisky or rum and add your choice of fresh or dried herbs, fruits, vegetables or spices to create a custom blend that is all your own. When experimenting with infusions, let your senses guide the way and create flavors that you're fond of already. A hot pepper infused vodka would be ideal for making a zesty Bloody Mary. Others may not like it hot, opting for something a little fruitier, such as a pineapple sage infused rum. Incorporate the rum in a tropical beverage or even jazz up your mojito with fresh spearmint, pineapple sage and the infused rum!
As with any experiment, take your time and find which herbs suit you and your tastes. Once you've found the right combination or recipe, invite friends over for a tasting party or divvy up your latest infusion into smaller bottles to give as a gift. Cheers!