Best Fresh Herbs to Use in Cocktails

Fresh herbs are powerful. Their aromatic oils have been used for centuries to infuse foods, drinks, oils, and soaps. Our palates respond joyfully to their scents, which all play a role in our enjoyment of certain foods and drinks.

Let’s say you’ve returned home from the grocery store, where you had to buy an entire bunch of fresh herbs, when you only need a little bit for a recipe. Or maybe you’ve been working hard in your garden, and you’ve been rewarded with beautiful, fragrant fresh herbs. Either way, it’s a shame to let those herbs go to waste, so why not use them to flavor your food and your drinks?

Basil

This lovely green leaf has a sweet, pleasant taste and is best known as a staple of Italian cooking. Infusing a cocktail with basil will add a layer of freshness to your cocktail and a non-sugary sweetness.

The Kitchn has several great recipes to use with basil. If you like pineapple and don’t feel like a pina colada, try the Pineapple Basil Cocktail. If you’re looking for something that’s both sweet and sour, you might like the Strawberry Basil Lemonade (don’t worry, it’s not as innocent as it sounds). And for those who want something with a bit more punch, there’s also Corzo Lemon Basil Cocktail.

Mint

Who doesn’t love the aromatic, crisp smell of fresh mint? This lovely herb provides a cool aftertaste and is used in everything from jellies to teas to alcoholic drinks. As an additional bonus, mint actually includes antioxidants like perillyl alcohol – that’s healthy alcohol in your fresh alcohol!

The classic mint drink is, of course, the mint julep. To make this springtime drink, you will first need to prepare a minty simple syrup. First, boil one cup of sugar and once cup of water in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from heat and add ten sprigs of mint. When you’re ready to make your cocktail, place three fresh mint leaves in a cup (preferably one that is chilled). Pour the syrup on the fresh leaves and then fill the cup with ice. Pour two tablespoons of bourbon over the ice and serve to the luck recipient.

If you’re looking for a summery drink with mint, try this recipe for a drink called The Cuke, which calls for another common garden staple, the cucumber. And there’s something to look forward to at the end of summer: the Whiskey Peach Smash.

Rosemary

This small, curved herb originated in the Mediterranean and has a piney, tea-like smell. Since no one likes picking small needles out of a drink, be sure to infuse your cocktails with sprigs of fresh rosemary and not dried needles like you would use in cooking.

The savory taste of rosemary pairs well with sour notes like lemon. If you like vodka drinks, one option is the Fresh Rosemary Lemontini. Or you can make your own rosemary-infused vodka that you can use all year to make delicious drinks. Be sure to keep an extra sprig or two on hand for an aromatic garnish when serving your delicious cocktails.

Lavender

Is there a more inviting and relaxing smell than lavender? The sweet, sultry smell makes people want to sit back and slow down – all of which sounds like the perfect opportunity for a cocktail.

For those times when you want to capture summer evenings in a glass, try a Blueberry Lavender Lemonade. If you’re looking for something refreshing as cool spring moves closer to hot summer, you might enjoy this Rosemary Lavender cocktail – to great herbs in one awesome cocktail. If you end up with leftover lavender, you can always dry it and use it for any one of these 50 ideas (you can even use lavender in a homemade salad dressing). But don’t rush – just enjoy your fresh drink first.

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