21 Easy Cocktails Made with Herbs, Unique Fruits, and Botanical Things

March 5, 2016
unique cocktails with herbs and spices

Since moving to New York, many of my hobbies changed from activities that require a wood shop and a backyard to activities that are a bit more apartment-sized. One of my favorite things these past few years has been learning about and making extravagant cocktails with simple ingredients.

Many times you can create a super complicated drink without spending a ton of money at the liquor store. You just need to spend a bit more time making a grocery list of herbs, fruits, veggies, and spices. There is such a rich and tumultuous history when it comes to people and drinking, and one of my favorite things is to research how and why people used natural ingredients to make surprising tastes. While the 2000’s and 2010’s have been experiencing a renaissance of all things handmade and artisanal to the point of being obnoxious, I love to eat (and drink) this stuff up. The cocktail revival is definitely my favorite food trends of this era.

This winter I started working on a bunch of new hobbies because Sean has been much busier with med school. I migrated my blog from blogger to a self hosted WordPress,(woohoo!) I started taking a pottery class around the corner, and I started working on documenting all the weird cocktails I’ve been making over on @gardencocktails. Below are some of my favorite recipes I’ve posted (and drank) in the past. 🙂

1. Meyer Lemon Tom Collins
Gin, lavender, Meyer lemon, seltzer

2. Tomate Fresca
Grape tomatoes, mezcal, lemon juice, agave (or honey!), orange bitters

3. Beetle Juice
Beet-infused gin, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, seltzer or tonic water

4. Karotte Cocktail
Carrot juice, orange juice, lime juice, tequila, agave (or honey!), tobasco

5. Dilly Bean Martini
Dilly beans, gin, dry vermouth

6. The Companion
Pear puree, honey, lemon juice, pear puree, dry vermouth, black pepper

7. Honey Cardamom Cocktail
Vodka, honey cardamom simple syrup, lemon juice, egg white, Angostura bitters, star anise

8. Green Tea Gimlet
Gin, green tea, lime juice, simply syrup, lime zest, matcha

9. Cherry Tomato Zinger
Cherry tomatoes, coarse salt, gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice

10. Scarborough Fair
Vodka muddled/infused with equal parts parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, dry vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup

11. Noctorne of November
Bourbon, Scotch, Fernet Branca, walnuts, bitters, sage, salt, honey

12. Prickly Pear Gimlet
Gin, prickly pear, lime juice, St. Germain, Peychauds

13. Rambutan Vanilla Cocktail
1 Rambutan (You can also use lychee! Similar taste.), sugar, water, lime juice, vanilla, vodka

14. Rosemary Grapefruit Margarita
Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey, rosemary

15. East India Gimlet
Gin, lime juice, simple syrup, celery bitters, fresh dill

16. Lavender Vodka Soda
Vodka, lavender liqueur (easy to make!), seltzer

17. Peppered Pear Cocktail
Gin, pine liqueur, pear slices, pear syrup, cardamom seeds, pepper

18. Mucked-Up Mai Tai
Rum, lime juice, blue curaçao, Velvet Falernum

👹🍹Mucked-Up Mai Tai🍹👹 2 ounces aged rum 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice 1/2 ounce blue curaçao (cringe) 1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum Crushed ice to fill cup 1 sprig of green stuff, for garnish (I used tarragon.) This Mai Tai variation is 100% inauthentic for two reasons. 1.) My rookie self a few years back I stupidly bought blue curaçao instead of orange. I am being blasphemous in my Mai Tai-making because I want to get rid of this blue stuff. 2.) I haven't been able to find orgeat syrup (almond-based) yet in the city so I decided to use falernum liqueur (also has almonds in it) as a substitute. I figured this is okay since I'm already committing a cardinal cocktail sin by using an ingredient with such an obnoxious, radioactive hue. 😛 Verdict: I was scared that mai tais would be obnoxiously sweet, but I didn't add any simple syrup and it was really good! PS: My tiki mugs came out of the kiln! I'm already working on a new set of taller mugs with more dimensional faces. #tikimuglife #maitai

A photo posted by Garden Cocktails (@gardencocktails) on

19. Snow and Dill Moscow Mule
Vodka, lime wedges, ginger beer, dill, snow (or crushed ice)

20. Mata Hari Cocktail
Cognac, chai-infused sweet vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup, pomegranate juice

21. Tomato Fennel Margarita
Tequila, cherry tomatoes, agave nectar, lime juice, fennel, salt

For more cocktails like this, follow my @GardenCocktails Instagram! Next weekend I’ve got big plans to plant the seedlings of a full-on balcony cocktail garden. And be sure to check out the post on reviews of my favorite cocktail books!

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