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
🍋Meyer Lemon and Lavender Tom Collins 🍋 🔸2oz gin 🔸1oz lavender liqueur* 🔸1oz Meyer lemon juice 🔸Seltzer *To make lavender liqueur, fill a jar with 2/3 vodka, 1/3 simple syrup, and a handful of dried lavender. Let it sit for a few weeks. Alternatively, you can just let lavender sit in the gin for the cocktail all day and add simple syrup/honey to taste! Shake the ingredients + top with seltzer, serve with lemon rind as garnish! (And maybe a sprinkle of dried lavender if your guests aren't picky about sipping some teeny buds.) Recipe variation from @Hatchery #hatcherybox PS: life tip- Bonne Maman jam jars make great cocktail glasses, Tupperware, and water cups. 🙌🏻
2. Tomate Fresca
Grape tomatoes, mezcal, lemon juice, agave (or honey!), orange bitters
🍅Tomate Fresca 🍅 🔸5+ grape tomatoes 🔸1.5 oz. Mezcal 🔸.75 oz. fresh lemon juice 🔸.5 oz. agave nectar 🔸3 dashes orange bitters First blend the tomatoes into the mezcal using an immersion/regular blender. Sieve the tomato pulp (or don't!) and mix in other ingredients. Shake + serve! I made this cocktail last weekend when I was visiting family in Houston and I think it's my favorite tomato cocktail yet. 🙂 Variation of a recipe from @bonappetitmag and @deadrabbitnyc
3. Beetle Juice
Beet-infused gin, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, seltzer or tonic water
🌿Beetle Juice 🌿 🔸2oz beet-infused gin (Chop up beets and infuse in gin. I let mine sit for a day.) 🔸1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar 🔸1 tbsp lemon juice 🔸2 oz seltzer or tonic water 🔸Green garnish– I used tarragon. Mix all ingredients except bubbly part and shake. Pour into a coupe glass and top with bubbly. Crack black pepper on top and serve! This is another one where I was like, wooooof this is going to be disgusting. But it was great! Savory, a little sour, and earthy.
4. Karotte Cocktail
Carrot juice, orange juice, lime juice, tequila, agave (or honey!), tobasco
🐰 Karotte Cocktail 🐰 🔸 2 oz carrot juice 🔸1/2 oz fresh orange juice 🔸1.5 oz blanco tequila 🔸.5 oz lime juice 🔸.25 agave syrup 🔸Dash of tobasco Shake + serve on rocks or in a coupe. Garnish with a piece of carrot and whatever green garnish you’ve got in your fridge. This time for me it was parsley. 🙂 I serendipitously found this recipe on a piece of newspaper that I was putting a fresh piece of pottery on. Tore it off and decided to make it!
5. Dilly Bean Martini
Dilly beans, gin, dry vermouth
🌱 Dirty Dilly Bean Martini 🌱 🔸1 part dry vermouth 🔸5 parts gin 🔸Dash of dilly bean brine 🔸Dilly beans for garnish If you like pickles, you will LOVE dilly beans. My mother-in-law gave us these beans over the holidays that she made from her garden. I've been storing them on top of the cupboard for a special occasion and then had the idea that they might make an interesting martini ingredient. It's a bit like a subtle pickle-tini. 🙂 #martini
6. The Companion
Pear puree, honey, lemon juice, pear puree, dry vermouth, black pepper
🌿The Companion 🌿 (By @travellingbartenders :)) 🔸8 muddled black peppercorns 🔸2 spoons of pear puree 🔸20 ml lemon juice 🔸15 ml honey syrup (honey mixed with equal parts water) 🔸10ml dry vermouth 🔸50ml white rum Super fresh and crisp! I actually used Sichuan peppercorns to see what happens with a bit of pepper that makes your tongue extra tingly. I also used a stick blender to make the pear puree and then shook with ice, garnished with tarragon, topped with more cracked pepper. (I didn't have any mint for a garnish.) #companioncocktail
7. Honey Cardamom Cocktail
Vodka, honey cardamom simple syrup, lemon juice, egg white, Angostura bitters, star anise
🍯Honey Cardamom Cocktail 🍯 🔸1 ½ oz. vodka 🔸½ oz. honey cardamom simple syrup (half honey, half water) 🔸½ oz. lemon juice 🔸1 egg white 🔸1-2 drops Angostura bitters 🔸1 star anise for garnish Mix the ingredients and shake until egg white is frothy. Serve in a coupe glass– perfect dose of #hygge 🙂 🍵 Recipe via @thecharmingdetroiter
8. Green Tea Gimlet
Gin, green tea, lime juice, simply syrup, lime zest, matcha
🍸Green Tea Gimlet🍸 (With a matcha + honey rim) Directions: Steep 2-3 green tea bags in 12oz of gin for at least an hour. 🕔 🔸2oz green tea-infused gin 🔸1oz fresh lime juice 🔸1/2 ounce simple syrup with lime zest Shake and serve in a coupe glass rimmed with matcha and honey. For extra green tea flavor, add a tiny spoon of matcha to the cocktail before you shake! Adapted from #SavoryCocktails book by Greg Henry
9. Cherry Tomato Zinger
Cherry tomatoes, coarse salt, gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice
🍅Cherry Tomato Zinger 🍅 🔸4 cherry tomatoes, halved 🔸Pinch coarse salt 🔸2oz dry gin 🔸1/2 oz elderflower liqueur 🔸1/2 oz lemon juice Muddle cherry tomatoes into a pulp and then add other ingredients. Shake and serve with another cherry tomato garnish and add a green herb for extra color and a whiff of one more flavor. I was super skeptical looking at this recipe before I tried it but it was one of the most surprising cocktails that I've ever had. This drink brings out sweet dimensions of cherry tomatoes that you never think to notice in typical tomato-based foods. Adapted from Savory Cocktails book by Greg Henry (Love this book!)
10. Scarborough Fair
Vodka muddled/infused with equal parts parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, dry vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup
🍸Scarborough Fair 🍸 🔸2oz vodka muddled/infused with equal parts parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme 🔸1/2 oz dry vermouth 🔸1/2 oz fresh lemon juice 🔸1.5 tsp simple syrup 🔸Lemon zest Muddle herbs with vodka + add all other ingredents. Shake vigorously and serve with herb bundle as garnish and Simon and Garfunkel on the record player. Adapted from "Savory Cocktails" book by Greg Henry
11. Noctorne of November
Bourbon, Scotch, Fernet Branca, walnuts, bitters, sage, salt, honey
🍸Noctorne of November 🍸 1 oz bourbon 1 oz Scotch .25 oz Fernet Branca .25 oz black walnut liqueur (I muddled walnuts instead) 5 dashes sage bitters (or Angostura) Sage (for muddling and garnish) Rim with smoked salt attached to glass with a bit of honey. Muddle sage with walnuts and shake other ingredients in. Variation from the folks at @dramapothecary <3
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
🍈Rambutan Vanilla Cocktail🍈 (You can also use lychee! Similar taste.) 🔸1 Rambutan* 🔸~1 tsp sugar 🔸1 oz water 🔸1 tsp lime juice 🔸1/4 tsp vanilla 🔸2 oz vodka *Slice the rambutan around the middle and peel out the fruit. Muddle it in the vodka. Put the shell of the rambutan back together and skewer it with a cocktail pick.
14. Rosemary Grapefruit Margarita
Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, honey, rosemary
🍊Rosemary Grapefruit Margarita 🍊 🔸2oz tequila 🔸2oz grapefruit juice 🔸1oz lime juice 🔸~tsp+ of honey 🔸3+ rosemary sprigs Muddle rosemary in liquids and reserve a sprig for garnish. Shake + pour over ice! For a creative garnish, wrap a cocktail sword in a grapefruit peel sheath. Rim with salt and honey!
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
🍸Peppered Pear Cocktail🍸 🔸2 oz gin 🔸1 oz pine liqueur 🔸Pear slices (for muddling + garnish) 🔸Pear syrup (Recipe below) 🔸Cardamom seeds (optional but delicious) Pear syrup: (From @wandpdesign's "Infuse") 🔸7oz pear brandy or just vodka 🔸3oz simple syrup 🔸1 ripe pear, sliced into eighths 🔸1 stick cinnamon 🔸1 star anise pod 🔸2 cloves Combine in Mason jar and infuse for 24 hours. Recipe modified from @dramapothecary <3
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
19. Snow and Dill Moscow Mule
Vodka, lime wedges, ginger beer, dill, snow (or crushed ice)
🎿Snow & Dill Moscow Mule 🎿 🔸1.5 oz vodka 🔸3 lime wedges, 2 squeezed in drink, 1 for garnish 🔸Ginger beer to top off 🔸Dill 🔸Snow Muddle dill with vodka and add lime juice. Shake in cocktail shaker and pour over mug of crushed ice. Top with ginger beer, garnish with a lime, some candied ginger, a sprig of dill, and a snowball if you just survived a blizzard. (This was taken on Saturday when the snow off my balcony was fresh and @NPR said it was still safe to eat :P)) PS– the dill is really good.
20. Mata Hari Cocktail
Cognac, chai-infused sweet vermouth, lemon juice, simple syrup, pomegranate juice
🌹Mata Hari Cocktail 🌹 🔸1.25oz Cognac 🔸1oz chai-infused sweet vermouth (Let chai tea sit in it for a few hrs!) 🔸.75oz lemon juice 🔸.5oz simple syrup 🔸.75oz pomegranate juice Combine ingredients, shake, and serve with an edible flower! (You can usually find these in the herb section of gourmet grocers.)
21. Tomato Fennel Margarita
Tequila, cherry tomatoes, agave nectar, lime juice, fennel, salt
🍅Tomato Fennel Margarita 🍅 🔸3 ounces tequila 🔸4 cherry tomatoes (3 for muddling, 1 for garnish) 🔸2 teaspoons agave nectar 🔸2 teaspoons lime juice from 1 lime Muddle 3 tomatoes in tequila, add other ingredients and shake.Rim glass with ground fennel and salt. (I put a bit of honey on first to make it stick.) Garnish with tomato and a bit of green. I am obsessed with tomato cocktails now. 👐 Recipe from @SeriousEats <3
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!