A COCKTAIL-INSPIRED KITCHEN GARDEN

written by annamarie garcia

Fresh mint for Mojitos? Yes please!  The “grow your own” movement is gaining speed and with spring arriving in the Northeast, there isn’t a better time to jump on board this train. Don’t know where to start? We have your back!

You can do all your planting-planning from the comfort of your couch by visiting popular seed suppliers like www.Burpee.com where they sell a wide range of herbs, veggies, and fruit seedlings and seeds.  If you are into non-GMO fruits and vegetables check out www.Johnnyseeds.com which is also 100% employee-owned, and they will ship directly to your door.  

For whichever seed-source you choose, we recommend grabbing one of these seed-starter kits which include growing-pellets so you won’t have to buy additional soil until you are ready to replant your seedlings into larger pots.  Oddly satisfying, this mini-greenhouse allows you to watch your seeds grow into seedlings right inside your home. So, let the April showers rain down while you stay dry and nurture your plants indoors.

In case you need some inspiration for which seeds to plant, we’ve provided some cocktail ideas that put your kitchen garden to good use making it that much more rewarding of an endeavor.

Hint: Planting basil, mint, and rosemary in your garden is a great place to start! 

Mojito

Mint and lime take center stage in this classic summer cocktail. Fortunately, mint is an easy herb to grow in the Northeast. 

  • 2 oz Light Rum

  • 3 mint leaves

  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice

  • 1/2 oz simple syrup

  • Club soda, to top

 

Garnish: Mint sprig and Lime wheel

Procedure: Lightly muddle the mint in a shaker. Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup and ice and give it a brief shake. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Top with the club soda. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and lime wheel.

Cucumber Basil Gimlet

Cucumber, basil and limes can go a long way in everyday cooking, but they do a lot of heavy lifting in this sophisticated aperitif.

  • 1.5 oz Botanist Gin

  • 2 slices cucumber 

  • 2 fresh basil leaves

  • 1 ounce simple syrup

  • 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Garnish: cucumber wheel and fresh basil

Procedure: Muddle the basil and cucumber in a shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a cucumber wheel and fresh basil leaves.

Autumn Sangria

"Farm to Cocktail" fun isn’t just for summer, look forward to the Fall by planting Rosemary, Apple, and Pears for this crowd pleaser.

  • 2 apples - cored and sliced

  • 2 pears - cored and thinly sliced

  • 1 bottle white wine

  • 1 cup pear liqueur or brandy

  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle apple cider

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

  • Club Soda

 

Garnish: Fresh Rosemary

Procedure: Add the apples, and pears, to a large pitcher followed by the white wine, pear liqueur, hard apple cider, and cinnamon sticks. Stir well to thoroughly combine the fruits with the alcohol.

Fill glasses with ice and fill approximately three-quarters full with sangria. Gently scoop apple and pear slices from pitcher into glasses and top off the glasses with club soda. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.