It’s that time of year when us gardeners move from planting and planning to watering and weeding (sadly, for most, we’re still a bit away from harvesting). But don’t forget one of the most fun steps of all is watching your garden grow. Wait, you think this isn’t actually a fun step? I suggest the next time you take a break from the watering and the weeding to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor, that you have one of the below garden-inspired cocktails. I’ll bet you’ll find the whole process more fun.
Ginger Bliss: Originally created by wine and cocktail writer and educator Kelly Magyarics, this refreshing herbal numbers is so good I used it as the title of my book Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz.
3/4 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounce basil-infused simple syrup (see A Note below)
3 dashes orange bitters
4 ounces chilled Champagne or brut sparkling wine
Lemon twist, for garnish
Fresh basil leaf, for garnish
1. Add the Domaine de Canton, lemon juice, basil-infused simple syrup, and orange bitters to a chilled flute glass.
2. Top with Champagne, stir gently, and garnish with a lemon twist and basil leaf.
A Note: To make the basil-infused simple syrup, add 1/2 cup each water and sugar to a medium-size saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring it to a simmer, and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves. Let sit for one hour, and then strain. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Springtime Fizz: This is tart and tangy enough to keep your mind off the fact that those tomatoes don’t look like they’ll ever grow. It’s also from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. Check for the dried hibiscus flower at Dandelion Botanical in Ballard.
1 teaspoon dried hibiscus flower
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 ounces gin (local Big Gin would work nice)
1 ounce PAMA pomegranate liqueur
Chilled club soda
1. Add the hibiscus flower and lime juice to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle well.
2. Fill the cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and PAMA. Shake with springtime fervor.
3. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass.
4. Fill the glass almost to the top with club soda. Stir briefly.
Atomula: A third from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, this utilizes rosemary, one thing that even the leanest garden probably has in abundance (or, your neighbor has a rosemary plant that needs trimming – that can work, too).
1-1/2 ounces dark rum
1 ounce Becherovka
1/2 ounce rosemary simple syrup (see A Note below)
Rosemary sprig, for garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Becherovka, and rosemary simple syrup. Shake well.
2. Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the rosemary sprig.
A Note: To make rosemary simple syrup add 1 cup fresh rosemary leaves, 2-1/2 cups water, and 3 cups sugar to a medium-size saucepan. Stirring occasionally, slowly bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Then lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the syrup completely cool in the pan. Strain through cheesecloth or a very fine strainer, and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Bride of Celery: This drink, from Paul Abercrombie’s dandy Organic, Shaken and Stirred is nearly a garden in itself, and provides a fine reminder of what yours might produce later in the summer.
One-quarter of an organic Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and diced
One 3-inch stalk organic celery, chopped
1⁄2 ounce freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
2 teaspoons organic sugar
1 1⁄2 ounces organic gin
1⁄2 ounce organic apple juice
1 organic celery leaf
1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the apple and celery with the lemon juice and sugar until roughly mashed.
2. Add the gin and apple juice and give it a little stir to mix the flavors well. Fill the shaker with ice cubes.
3. Shake vigorously, then double-strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish the drink with the celery leaf, floating it on the top or inside edge of the glass.