The Botanist’s Guide to Summer Cocktails
Backyard cookouts are a great thing if you’re a gardener or know someone who is. They serve as an occasion to show off all of the hard work that goes into cultivating the delicious plants in the spring. By the time summer rolls around, the herbs and vegetables are ripening and bursting with flavor and ready kick your burger, salad, or even your mixed drinks up a notch.
Maximize your garden’s yield and the good times at your next summer outing by preparing these amazing summer drinks for your friends and family. These amazing fruit and vegetable-infused cocktails will not only help to beat the summer heat, but they pair great with all the food coming hot off of the grill.
1. The Herbal Homestead Gin & Tonic
This drink is the magnum opus of botany-inspired beverages due to the sheer amount of vegetables and herbs loaded into it. Packed with the ripest vegetables like tomato and cucumber, and herbs such as parsley, thyme, coriander, and basil, this drink is a garden in a glass and doesn’t require a PhD in mixology to make. Combine your curated herbs and vegetables with a splash of a nice dry gin to go with a refreshing spritz of tonic water and ice, lots of ice. You’ll love this recipe.
2. Cucumber Jalapeno Cilantro Margarita
The classic Margarita may be the most popular beverage consumed in America during the hot summer months. This contemporary take on the original builds upon the icy and citrusy freshness that we all love by adding garden-fresh cucumbers and notes of cilantro, with just a touch of fresh-sliced jalapeno spice. We can assure you that this drink will leave you refreshed and satisfied even on the hottest of summer days. Here’s a recipe that we enjoy.
3. The Classic Mint Julep
The Kentucky Derby may have come and gone but that doesn’t mean we have to stop drinking mint juleps. The drink may be famous for the Derby, but it’s gaining in popularity outside of the 2-minute window of the race. This quintessential Southern cocktail has its largest following in the American south where both bourbon and excruciating summer heat are plentiful, making this drink a cocktail-hour essential. We like this recipe.
4. The Lavender Paloma
Despite popular opinion, the Margarita is not actually the national cocktail of Mexico. This title goes to a lesser-known tequila-infused drink called the Paloma. Paloma’s are known for their propensity to beat the tropical and desert heat of high-noon in Mexico, and by adding a generous dash of lavender to the mix it mellows out the citrus bite. The lavender flower is also in full bloom during the summer months and is at peak freshness. At first sip you’ll notice how well the fragrant floral notes jibe with the grapefruit and lime, titillating your taste buds on a hot summer day. Give this recipe a try!
5. Strawberry and Basil Sangria
Any summer drink list would be incomplete without a sangria recipe. This strawberry and basil-based white wine sangria is a quick and easy recipe that you can practically pull right from the garden and prepare for yourself or for large groups. The key to a great sangria is time. The longer it sits, the more time the ingredients have to infuse into the wine, and the better your final outcome will taste. Sit back and relax with friends and a glass this summer. Sip on this recipe.
The plants and beverages that we love have long and storied histories together. To find out more about these plants, we recommend reading Tea Leaves, Coffee Trees, and Cocoa Beans: The Untold Stories of the Plants that Make Our Favorite Fall Brews!