Borrow some fresh inspiration with ingredients from the kitchen for any celebration. With these tips and techniques, your guests are sure to be impressed with your herbal cocktail menu.
Herb-infused liquor is a simple way to get an herbal flavor in your drinks. The process provides a subtle flavor that acts as a base taste when exploring flavor combinations. You can infuse flavor using anything from herbs to fruits!
To infuse alcohol at home, simply choose a liquor and flavor you’d like to infuse (basil, berries, etc.) Chop and prepare your infusion ingredient so it’s small enough to fit in a jar. Then, add your ingredients to the jar, pour in the alcohol and let it sit overnight. The next day you will have a personalized, flavored liquor to work with.
5 Popular Herbs for Drinks
To get started crafting cocktails, draw some inspiration from these five household herbs. Look at the tips, tastes and alcohol pairings that work well with each herb.
Mint is the most widely used herb in the booze business. Mint’s strong aroma and refreshing flavor pair well with most liquor, making it the most versatile herb to use in drinks. It can be used to introduce a crisp note to refreshing drinks like mojitos and mint juleps.
Rosemary is not just for roasts anymore! This savory herb is perfect for creating a refreshing fall-inspired drink. Rosemary has a woody stem with needles much like a pine tree, giving it a robust flavor. This hearty herb pairs well with lighter liquors–like vodka and gin–and citrus flavors. Venture beyond of the usual lemons and limes and try pairing rosemary with orange and cranberry-based recipes.
Basil works well in cocktails only to enhance the flavor of the alcohol used in the drink. Its flavor won’t overpower the base liquor, but basil will bring out the texture of flavors in light liquors, like tequila and gin. Don’t expect to taste much if you try it with bourbon.
Tarragon is a highly versatile herb. Its licorice-like flavor is robust enough to be used as the base flavor for a drink but also works well as a complement to other flavors. If you want your tarragon to steal the show, choose a light base like gin or vodka. As a compliment, tarragon works best with golden rum and citrus flavors. If you want to be adventurous, there are drink recipes that use tomato paired with tarragon.
Cilantro is the most polarizing of these herbs. Typically, people either love or hate its strong flavor. You should pair cilantro’s spicy, bold flavor with equally bold flavors like jalapeno or fresh ginger. Try a margarita recipe that uses cilantro. If tequila can’t make people love cilantro, nothing can.
If you don’t want to experiment with infusions yet, try these other methods to incorporate herbs into your cocktails:
- The most often used method to introduce herbs into a cocktail is by using it as a garnish. Stick a sprig of rosemary in your gin martini, and you’re good to go.
- Have you ever seen your bartender grinding away with a pestle and mortar at your local bar? This technique is called muddling. However, you do NOT want to pulverize your herb, as this will damage the plant and erase its flavor. Simply lightly tap until the herb’s aroma becomes fragrant and add to your drink.
- If you’re feeling adventurous, you can create your own herb-based bitters. The process of making infused bitters involves steeping, straining, cooking and bottling. Creating herb-infused bitters makes it easier to layer the flavors in your drinks.
- Create herbal ice cubes by mincing your choice of herb and add to the ice tray. Fill with water and freeze–the herb’s flavor releases as it melts in the drink.
For the Designated Drivers
While you’re making the herbal ice cubes for your alcoholic beverages, try muddling some berries or edible flowers to make a separate set of cubes for non-alcoholic options. Adding these colorful and flavorful ice cubes to soda or sparkling water is a great option for those driving.
Have you tried making herb-infused cocktails? Tell us which herbs are your favorite to use in the comments below.