So many of us have adopted new houseplants, started backyard gardens, built raised beds or started plants from seed during the pandemic. Tying us to the places we live through the cultivation of plants is certainly one of the better side effects from being cooped up at home. I’ve personally taken the time to cultivate a “cocktail garden” at my house, one that’s filled with drink-friendly herbs.
Summertime cocktails are going to be extra delicious this year. While traditional mint juleps are herbaceous and refreshing, I like to change up the flavor profile and incorporate different herbs in the simple syrup for a versatile “garden julep” cocktail — one that captures the taste of a particular point of the season, here in the garden. A few favorite julep versions of mine are basil, pineapple sage and lemon thyme, but get experimental with what you have!
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 ounce herbal simple syrup
- Crushed ice
- Sprigs of fresh herbs, for both the syrup and garnish
1. In a cocktail or julep glass, combine the bourbon and herbal simple syrup.
2. Add a little crushed ice and stir together to integrate and slightly dilute the ingredients.
3. Top with extra crushed ice and garnish with sprigs of fresh herbs.
For the herbal simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan on low heat. Bring to a slow simmer and remove from heat. Add a handful of fresh herbs and let steep until the mixture cools. Strain off the solids and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For this particular cocktail, I used lemon balm and mint together.
Photos by Jayme Henderson.
Jayme Henderson is a writer, photographer, and co-owner and winemaker for The Storm Cellar, a vineyard and winery in Hotchkiss, Colorado. When she’s not creating garden-inspired cocktails, you can find her tending grapevines, searching for the perfect bottle of wine for dinner, or spending time outside with her husband, Steve, and her two cats, Kazu and Ash. She also curates the award-winning cocktail blog, holly & flora.