Guest Post: Grow Your Own Cocktail Garden

This summer get creative in your garden by planting herbs, fruits and vegetables that you can take out of the garden and plunk right into your cocktail glass. Make imaginative cocktails and mocktails with rose, scented geranium, thyme, pineapple sage, peppers and tomatoes. Theme gardening is a fun and sometimes theatrical way to get creative in the garden. If you’re not a gardener but like to create meals and drinks with fresh ingredients, this may be a simple starting point to begin growing plants that would get a lot of culinary use.

5 Plants Guaranteed to Make Any Garden Party a Success!


Nothing shouts summer to me more than basil! Sweet basil is the perfect garnish for a cocktail called the Bloody Gazpacho, basically, a bloody mary with fresh cucumber, a dash of balsamic, garlic and basil. Basil also has undertones of mint that pairs well in this fruity cocktail:

Basil Strawberry Mojito

In a 16-oz mixing glass, gently muddle together:

  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 strawberries
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • Add:
  • 1 oz of lime juice
  • 2 oz white rum
  • 3 oz club soda

Throw in juiced lime half. Top with crushed ice, mix and garnish.


In my garden I have spearmint, chocolate mint, and orange mint growing. But the list doesn’t stop there. Grapefruit mint, apple mint, black pepper mint and several more varieties are available. This herb adds a fresh taste to mojitos, mints juleps and teas. Keep in mind that mint is very invasive so it would be best to keep it confined to it’s own container. To make a traditional mojito use the above recipe, omit the basil and strawberries and add one big sprig of spearmint.


I know there’s a love/hate relationship with this herb. For you cilantro lovers there’s nothing that beats the taste of home grown coriander. Cilantro pairs well in cocktails with fresh citrus, cucumber, kiwi, and mango. Combine cilantro, watermelon, chili and a few other ingredients and you have a party on your tastebuds, otherwise know as the Chili Mama!

Chili Mama

  • 2 oz Leblon Cachaca
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • A dash of simple syrup
  • 1 stem cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped watermelon
  • 1/2 small chili

Muddle the chile, cilantro, watermelon and sugar in a shaker. Fill with ice and add Leblon Cachaca. Shake well and strain over ice into a highball glass. Garnish with cilantro and watermelon.


This aromatic herb is more that a beautiful flower. It’s blossom add a delicate floral flavor to cocktails paired with citrus, spearmint and blueberries. Make up a batch of lavender syrup for this cocktail:

Lavender Sapphire Collins

  • 1 1/2 Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz lavender syrup (recipe below)
  • 3 oz club soda
  • lemon wedge for garnish

Squeeze half a lemon into a Collins glass, add lavender syrup and Bombay Sapphire. Stir and fill with ice.
Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and lavender blossoms.

Lavender Syrup

  • 1cup water
  • 3 Tbsp fresh or dried lavender flowers
  • 2 cups sugar

Preparation: Bring water and lavender to a boil. Stir in sugar until fully dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Keep in the refrigerator for 3 days, then fine strain the lavender.


The leaves and star-shaped flowers of borage are edible and can add a delicate cucumber flavor to salads and cocktails. Get fancy and freeze the bright blue flowers in ice cubes or use use to garnish this summery cocktail:

Pimm’s Cup

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
  • ginger ale or lemon lime soda
  • lemon slices
  • cucumber slices

Half-fill a collins glass with ice and a few slices of cucumber, borage leaves, or other garnishes. Add Pimm’s then fill with soda. Stir and garnish with slices of lemon, cucumber and borage flowers. Optional: orange slice, fresh borage and/or mint leaves, apple slices, strawberry.

This is just a start of many herbalicious cocktails that are growing in popularity. In no time you’ll be drinking new life from those tired herbs. Do you have a favorite?


Eat. Drink. Play in the Dirt.

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7 Responses to “Guest Post: Grow Your Own Cocktail Garden”

  1. This was a fun article to write Jayme! Now, if only the weather would warm up for some of us to actually HAVE a garden party. :-)

  2. Count me in for the Lavender Sapphire Collins. It sounds amazing and I have been wanting to find a “summer drink.” Last year I did the “Bahama Momma” with fresh strawberries but this year I wanted to go a bit more “organic.” Thank you so much Nicky for your great post!

  3. Kevin Gilkes says:


    How do you come up with these cool mocktail recipes? You tagged it right in saying “If you’re not a gardener but like to create meals and drinks with fresh ingredients, this may be a simple starting point to begin growing plants that would get a lot of culinary use.” I couldn’t agree more. You’re putting a whole new spin on gardening and tending bar.

    Definitely going to try you recipes.

  4. Kristie says:

    Okay, I LOVE Pimm’s and Borage. I grow heaps of it. So making this cocktail this summer!

  5. forest says:

    great stuff, nicky!

    I didn’t even know what Borage was – i love learning new stuff!

  6. These cocktails look so amazing. Can’t wait to try these. One of my new fave kitchen items lately is a long bar spoon for stirring cocktails, weighted at the top for super easy swirling.

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