Wait…what….? Are we hearing right? Did you mentioned a boozy garden? But, how now, Mrs. Brown Cow? Yes that is correct my boozy loving friends, you indeed read correctly! Today, will be sharing with you in, how we can raise the bar, by having your very own cocktail garden! Yay!!!
Friends, times have changed and so have cocktails! Today, it is all about the craft. People are far more happier, to spend a little more moola in buying an exceptional high quality gin or brandy, which has been crafted by hand than a mass produced product. Spending R300 or R400 on a bottle of gin, brandy or vodka, you don’t want it to be an awful sickly sweet, brightly colourful, mother slapping drink! The natural flavours of the alcohol needs to be enhanced and elevated… savouring each sip. The best way to do a craft booze any justice, is to have the freshest ingredients!
I am not sure about you but there is nothing more exhilarating than stepping out into your own garden and picking your very own produce that you have carefully mothered from seed and using it in your cooking or boozy drinks.
Boozy Garden Inspiration
For those of you who know me on a personal level, will know that my mom has what we call the MAGIC GREEN FINGERS. She has the amazing ability to make the desert – blossom. My mom has a Lazarus touch where she can bring plants that are dead (Okay, maybe almost dead) – back to life! Sadly though, I did not inherit that magic green finger of hers, instead I have become a plant serial killer. I am utterly useless. Needless to say, I started my own little garden in December and surprisingly… it is still alive and I have not managed to kill it off… yet!
(Below are some of the images of my mom’s garden…)
Eish, I am going off topic again. Focus! So let us get down to business! I may do a separate article in the future in how to start growing a herb garden from scratch, but until then here is a little help in getting you started…
My Boozy Garden Starter: 7 Basic Must Have Herbs!
It has this distinct smell and flavour which you will recognize immediately. Lavender has a gorgeous floral and spicy note. The flowers always add a nice touch to any boozy drink. Lavender pairs well with other ingredients like blueberries, lemon, orange, honey, sage, rosemary, white chocolate and even black pepper. Remember to use with caution as it can be over powering and preferably use English Lavender.
Don’t you just love thyme? It is gentle and pairs well with just about anything. What I love most about thyme is the lovely warm earthiness with hints of lemon and minty notes. Don’t just plant one type of Thyme (Common Thyme), be creative and plant a variety. Did you know you get Lemon, Orange Balsam, Juniper, and even a Caraway Thyme? There is such a huge variety available, so what ever your green fingers can get – PLANT IT!! Here is some thyme inspired cocktails!
Mint goes so well in a gazillion different types of cocktails because of that gorgeous sweet, cool and refreshing taste. Something to keep in mind when planting mint… it is a bully!! If you give him your pinky, he will take your whole arm never mind your hand. He will take over your entire garden. Like thyme, you get so many different varieties of mint, there is spearmint, peppermint, chocolate, lemon, orange, apple, pineapple, and the other day I saw a Ginger mint! (Which I am so sorry I didn’t get it 🙁 )
One always think of sage in cooking and never in cocktails, however with the number of different varieties available it adds a lovely touch and sophistication to any cocktail. Sage goes well with gin or bourbon. It is said that it helps to add a lovely contrast to sweet (pineapple or apple) or acidic (lemon, oranges or lime) flavours.
Rosemary is your rich aunt from the mint family. Who knew? Anyway, Gin and Aunt Rosemary is the perfect couple and occasionally she hooks up with her secret lover Bourbon. Rosemary has a very warm, strong and distinct flavour, with a note of pine or eucalyptus and is quiet peppery. It does have a medicinal taste. The best thing about Aunt Rosemary is that she is heat and drought tolerable. Perfect for our current water crises! As we know rosemary works well with citrus or sweet flavours. Just something to keep in mind – if you suffer from hypertension, it is best to limit your intake of rosemary as it can cause your blood pressure to elevate.
The traditional sweet basil works well with most cocktails. As basil is a very strong and pungent herb, with sweet notes of licorice/anise. I tend to pick up more warm clove with a hint of cinnamon. It is recommended that the alcohol base should be either Vodka, Gin or Rum. You may think it will go well with tomato infused cocktails like a good Bloody Mary, but basil works just as well with lemon, mint, lime or even something that has cinnamon in it. There is also a fascinating amount of different kinds of basil for you to try. There is lemon, cinnamon, purple basil, lime, and even a Thai Sweet Basil, I think there is up to over 15 different varieties… When growing basil, they love sun, so make sure you put him in a lovely sunny spot if you are growing it indoors.
That is right friends, Lemon Balm! The perfect little herb to use in any cocktail especially Gin! Just think Lemon Balm Gin Tonic. This herb has lovely refreshing lemony minty flavour so you can use it any recipe that calls for lemons or mint (Added bonus, you can use one herb instead of two – Score!!) You can also make your very own simple syrup using Lemon Balm. Just bare in mind that if you do cook with Lemon Balm it is a soft and subtle herb, so it is best to add to the last 5 min of cooking or use in recipes where cooking is rather “light”. How does an Apricot and Lemon Balm Mojito sound??
If you are looking for some herb inspired cocktails here are a few to motivate you! 🙂
How awesome is this herbal plant bar? I think Hubby needs to whip out his carpentry skills.
Would you like to know what other herbs or plants you can add to your boozy garden, well subscribe so you don’t miss part two.
(Image Credits – images in this post are either my own or from Pixabay)