Herbs from your garden are great for creating refreshing drinks. It really is your playground! With a few snips from your plants, you can create beverages by mixing and matching vegetables, fruit and herbs. The stores might only carry one kind of mint or basil, but at home you can grow lemon basil or orange mint!
The best way to incorporate herbs into a drink is by making a simply syrup infused with the flavor of the herb. It’s easy! In a saucepan, combine equal parts sugar and water; add a handful of herbs. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has melted. Remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. This will allow the herbs to infuse the syrup with flavor. Strain into an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
When you are making some of the cocktails, you need to muddle the items. Muddling means combining ingredients, usually in the bottom of a mixing glass, by pressing them with a muddler before adding the liquid ingredients. This releases the flavors.
From cocktails to smoothies, the options are endless for how to incorporate herbs into your drinks. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
Mango Strawberry Basil Sipper.
In a glass, combine 1 cup cubed mango, 1/2 cup halved strawberries, 3 to 4 basil leaves and club soda. Add simple syrup to taste, usually 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving.
Lemon Blueberry Basil Smoothie.
Combine 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/8 cup basil simple syrup in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass; serve with a twist of lemon.
Blackberry Thyme Martini.
In a martini shaker, muddle 4 blackberries with an orange wedge. Add 1 ounce thyme simple syrup, 2 ounces vodka and a drop of vermouth. Shake with 1/2 cup ice and pour into a martini glass.
Some drinks call for using the herbs by themselves without a simple syrup. One of my new favorites is a Raspberry Lime Mint Mojito. Raspberry and lime make such a great combination, and the mint breaks up the sweetness.