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The Bartender's Garden

Last week, I taught a fun plant-based cocktail class for Earth Week. I am adamant about using clean and locally sourced ingredient in all my cocktails because I believe it tastes the best. Getting my garden ready this year has been so fun and I am so excited to see what delicious cocktails I can create.

I am often asked what do I grow in my garden to make cocktails. The answer is A LOT herbs , fruits and the occasional veggie. I have compiled a list I like to call The Bartender's Garden. It has almost every herb, fruit and veggies that are used to make great cocktails as well as other best uses. Are there any herbs, fruit and veggies that you love to use to make delicious cocktails?

The Bartender's Garden

Fruits & Vegetables

Use as garnishes, fresh juices, and flavored infusions.

Apple - Use to make fresh cider or juice, garnish, or infusions. 

Blueberry - Perfect for muddling or making syrups or shrubs.

Cherry - Use as a garnish, juice, or make your own syrup, infused spirits, or liqueurs.

Drinks: Black Cherry Breezer, Cherry Bitch

Grapes - Use as a garnish or make fresh juice or infusions, even homemade wine. Freeze grapes for an alternative to ice. 

Kiwi - Muddle skinned kiwi for fresh drinks or make your own kiwi vodka.

Drinks: Green Lemonade, Kiwi Martini

Raspberry and Blackberries - Garnishes, infusions, liqueurs, juiced, muddled... berries have many uses. 

Strawberry - Juices, purees, infusions, syrups, liqueurs, blended, and garnishes. 

Melon - Melons are very easy to juice, even with just a muddler and they make great infusions.

Tomato - Choose medium sized, juicy varieties and muddle cherry tomatoes for short drinks.

The Bloody Mary and more tomato cocktails.

Carrot - Juice for a lighter substitute to tomato.

Drinks: Bugs Cutty

Cucumber - Create very refreshing drinks by muddling, infusing, or blending.

Peppers - Add a little spice to drinks by muddling or infusing chili, jalapeño, habanero , even bell peppers.

Peas - Bring those delicious peas from the garden into your cocktails via muddling or pureeing. 

Grapefruit - Easy to juice with a juicer or muddler and great for infusions.

Lemons and Limes - Essential bar ingredients for a variety of drinks and garnishes.

Mango - Fresh juice and purees, also good for infusions and blended drinks.

Orange - Another bar essential, used for numerous drinks as juice or garnish and great for infusions and orange liqueurs.

Peach - Use for purees, juices, infusions, and blended drinks.

Pomegranate - Use for fresh juice, infusions, or liqueurs and an essential ingredient for making grenadine syrup, a bar staple.

Herbs & Flowers

Perfect for custom spirit infusion, homemade bitters, shrubs, and syrups, as well as garnishes and muddling.

Basil - Surprisingly, used quite often in new cocktails.

Chamomile - Most often used as tea, though it can be used to make liqueurs, infusions, even homemade bitters.

Drinks: Gunpowder Gimlet, Tea Tini

Dill - Best left for infusions and homemade bitters and shrubs.

Fennel - Similar to dill's strength and best used for the same.

Ginger - Very useful for syrups, infusions, muddled, even making your own ginger ale or ginger beer.

Lavender - Perfect for adding a light floral flavor to drinks via muddling, infusions, or syrups.

Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena - Often used as a tea, though can be used for infusions or homemade mixers as well. 

Drinks: Jalisco High-Tea,  Tea Tini

Lemongrass - Use for infusions of spirits (especially tequila) and syrups.

Lilac - Add a darker floral flavor to drinks than lavender by using the flowers to make liqueurs and syrups.

Mint - Try different varieties but beware that it is notorious for taking over a garden, so plant in a controlled space or container. Mint is the most popular herb used in many drinks most famous being the Mint Julep and Mojito.

Rosemary - As popular as lavender and with the same uses: infusions, syrups, muddling.

Sage - Often used directly in the drink via muddling, though it can be used for infusions and homemade shrubs and syrups.

Drinks: Homecoming Caipirinha, Pineapple and Sage Gimlet, Sage Lady

Tarragon - Can be used directly in drinks via muddling or for infusions of spirits or syrups as well as homemade bitters and shrubs.

Thyme - Muddle with syrups or infuse into spirits or use to make bitters, shrubs, and the like.

Drinks: Old Thyme Sour


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