The Best Herbs for Fresh Cocktails

From our partner Saucey

Spring has sprung, and there’s no better way to celebrate than by using fresh, fragrant herbs to spice up a cocktail! Lavender, mint, dill, basil, and cilantro are all standard complements to a number of classic mixed drinks and instantly transform a simple dram into an elegant elixir. 

The best way to get fresh herbs for cocktails? Grow them in your AeroGarden. Grab the cocktail and mocktail herb blend to keep you and your bar topped up on fresh herbs, no matter the season. And visit the Saucey blog for a host of herb-based cocktail recipes! 

Mint 

Mint leaves have a fresh, clean flavor with a cooling aftertaste. Mint works well with acidic flavors like lemon, lime, and raspberry, and complements the earthy notes already present in gin or whiskey.

One to try

Mint Julep

About 5 fresh Mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 ounces Bourbon Whiskey
½ ounce Simple Syrup

Combine mint and simple syrup in a rocks glass and gently muddle. Add crushed ice, and pour in whiskey. Stir, then garnish with an additional mint sprig.

Dill

Fresh dill weed is a popular herb in Nordic, Middle Eastern and Eastern European cuisinethough Americans know it best as a pickle flavoring. Dill is great in drinks featuring cucumber, gin, or both.

One to try

Dill Cucumber Gin Fizz

2 ounces Gin
1 ounce freshly squeezed Lime Juice
3 ounces Club Soda or Sparkling Water
Fresh Dill
4 round Cucumber slices (save one for garnish)

In a rocks glass, muddle three slices of cucumber and a few sprigs of dill with gin, lime juice, and a few sprigs of dill. Add ice and top with club soda or sparkling water. Garnish with a sprig of dill and a cucumber slice.

Basil

The basil leaf’s savory flavor has made it a staple of Italian and Southeast Asian dishes, but it can also complement sweet, citrusy cocktails. Lightly bruise the leaves with your fingertips before putting them in a drink to release even more of the herb’s mouthwatering aroma.

One to try

Cucumber Basil Slush

1 Cucumber, sliced
2 ounces freshly squeezed Lime Juice

¼ cup Basil leaves and more for garnish
3 tablespoons Sugar
¼ cup Vodka
¼ cup Water
3 ½ cups Ice
Cucumber slices (for garnish)

Mix all ingredients in an electric blender on the ice crush setting until well combined and finely chopped. Pour the slush into a glass and garnish with a cucumber slice and a basil leaf.

Lavender 

Lavender isn’t just for your grandma’s potpourri dish. This strong, aromatic herb gives a floral kick to anything it’s added to while its subtle sweetness takes the pucker out of tart flavors like lemon. 

The easiest way to use lavender in drinks is by making a lavender simple syrup: just boil 1 cup water, 1 cup of sugar and one teaspoon of lavender flowers until the sugar is dissolved. Wait 30 minutes, then strain the flowers out. You can keep extra lavender syrup in a glass jar.

One to try

Lavender Old Fashioned

2 ounces Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
¼ ounce Lavender Simple Syrup
2 dashes Orange Bitters

Stir the ingredients together and serve in a rocks glass over ice.

Cilantro 

Cilantro, also known as coriander, has a fresh, lemon-lime tang (though for people with certain genetics, it can taste like dish soap!). Used prolifically in Southeast Asian, Latin American and Pacific Coast cuisine, cilantro mixes well with spicy, tart cocktails. You can also make a cilantro simple syrup using the same method used to make lavender simple syrup.

One to try

Cilantro Martini

½ ounce Gin
2 ounces citrus Vodka
¼ cup fresh Cilantro leaves and more for garnish
Juice from one Lime
½ ounce Simple Syrup

Shake the ingredients together with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with extra cilantro sprigs.

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