- Mint – Mint is probably the most commonly used fresh herb for cocktails. Mojitos and Juleps are the most well-known mint drinks, but this leaf brings refreshing flavor wherever it’s used. Used as a garnish, muddled and for infused spirits, mint is an important part of a mixologist’s garden.
- Basil – Varieties of the complex, aromatic herb can be sweet, peppery or citrusy with clove overtones. Basil is a great all-purpose herb that adds great flavor to gin, tequila, or rum drinks to name a few. Muddled, used as a garnish or used in a simple syrup, basil can give new life to your usual cocktails.
- Cucumber – The mild, crisp, clean flavor of cucumbers is becoming increasingly popular for cocktails. Used as a garnish, fresh sliced, muddled and for infused and distilled spirits, cucumber is found in many cocktails including Pimm’s, margaritas and martinis.
- Strawberries – Sweet strawberries, fresh and frozen, are great in drinks and are an integral part of any bar. They can be made into syrup, for infused and distilled spirits, strawberry liqueurs and as a garnish. Strawberries are not only an integral ingredient in a gin isleño (gin, mashed strawberries and mint, simple syrup and topped with club soda), but they are also good in cake. If you have any leftovers….
- Blueberries – You may come across cocktails that feature the sweet-tart taste of those delicious little blueberries. They can be used fresh, as a juice, or in the form of a blueberry-flavored vodka or liqueur. The flavor is unique in mixed drinks and if you’re looking for a fabulous, fresh taste, give a blueberry cocktail a try.
- Hot Peppers – For a spicy little cocktail, try making your own Tabasco/hot sauce for caesars with fresh hot peppers. These spicy little beauties can be used muddled, for infused spirits, syrup and as a garnish. Remember that different peppers offer different flavors and levels of heat. Basket of Fire is a favourite! Try making your own tabasco sauce and take your caesars to the next level.
- Rhubarb – Sweet-tart rhubarb is usually made into a syrup before being added to cocktails or used for a garnish. It’s used in margaritas, paloma, mimosas, bellinis and can be mixed with other fruit flavors to create unique cocktails.
- Raspberries – Easy to grow, raspberries add their incredible fruity flavor to cocktails. They can be muddled, made into a syrup, for infused spirits, as a garnish and in liqueur such as Kelowna B.C.’s Urban Distilleries Raspberry Liqueur, which is fabulous mixed with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade.
- Rosemary – For many people, rosemary looks and tastes like pine needles. The rich, woody flavor of rosemary can be added as a sprig or muddled in gin or vodka. You can also make a rosemary syrup for drinks like the “Rosemary Bourbon Sour.”
- Borage – This cucumber flavored herb is also known as starflower or bee bush and has so many uses. It attracts bees for pollination and repels insects. It can be used in salads, jellies, soups, the flowers can be candied and it is used in many cocktails. Borage is also used in Pimm’s cocktails. Check out this link for more information on Borage.