Spring has arrived here in Maryland, along with cicadas, seasonal allergies, and the seemingly never-ending virtual lifestyle. Folks across the globe are turning to nature to get them through these times — as well as a good, stiff drink at the end of day (or at noon — we’re not here to judge). With more and more people turning to their gardens to avoid supermarkets, it’s no wonder that herb gardens and vegetable gardens are gaining popularity. But did you know you can grow your own cocktail ingredients right at home? At Black Label Bar, we’re pairing these quarantine trends to create fresh garden-to-glass craft backyard cocktails!
Harvesting Your Bar Garden For Your Own Backyard Cocktails
Chances are, if you don’t already have an herb garden, you’ve at least thought about growing one. While herbs are most commonly grown for cooking, don’t forget about your booze — you may already be growing great ingredients for backyard cocktails!
What’s great about herb gardens is you don’t need a full garden or big backyard to grow flavorful herbs. Most herbs are easily grown in pots indoors! All you need is a window, some small pots, potting soil, and your herb seeds to get started (and maybe an herb-garden-planting cocktail while you’re at it).
Here are some of our favorite essential herbs and edible flowers to stock your quarantine bar:
You can incorporate these herbs and flowers into your cocktail in a variety of ways. Most herbs can simply be muddled into your backyard cocktails, while edible flowers make eye-catching garnishes. You can also go a step further by creating flavored simple syrups or infusing spirits. How, you ask?
It’s Called Simple Syrup For A Reason
Flavored simple syrups steal the cocktail show here — and they couldn’t be easier to make! Simple syrups only require water, sugar, and your desired flavor(s). They can be mixed and matched with different spirits, mixers, and muddled ingredients, making them a great (and simple!) way to expand your quarantine cocktail menu. Start with one of these easy recipes, and then try your hand at our original Black Label Bar’s Backyard Cocktails.
Mint Simple Syrup
1 cup each of the following:
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn off heat and let stand for approximately 30 minutes. Strain into a sterilized container and put into the fridge. Enjoy up to 3 weeks. Makes about 8 servings.
Honey Simple Syrup
- 1 Cup Honey
- 1 Cup Water
On low heat warm the water, add honey once water is warm and stir until mixed. Pour into a sterilized container and put into the fridge. Enjoy up to 3 weeks. Makes 14-16 servings.
Black Label Bar’s Backyard Cocktails Recipes
Sweet Garden Mule
- 1.5 oz McClintock Epiphany Vodka
- 1oz Mint Simple Syrup
- 3.5 oz. Sweet Farm Double Ginger Beer
- 2 Mint Leafs
- 1 Slice of Lime
- 2 Small Strawberry
Yields one 12oz cocktail
How to mix:
Add one sliced strawberry to the bottom of your shaker and muddle. Add your fresh mint, McClintock’s Epiphany Vodka and Mint Simple Syrup and shake over ice. Pour into your cocktail glass, squeeze the lime and top with Sweet Farm’s Double Ginger Beer. Stir with a spoon and garnish with a strawberry and mint leaf.
- 1.5oz McClintock Gardeners Gin
- 1 oz. Honey Simple Syrup
- 3 Lemon Slices
- 4 Fresh Basil Leaves
- 3.5 oz. Soda Water
- 1 Dandelion
Yields one 12oz cocktail
How to mix:
Add 2 slices of lemon and 3 basil leaves to the bottom of your shaker and gently muddle. Add your Honey simple syrup, McClintock’s Gardener’s Gin and shake over ice. Pour into your cocktail glass and top with soda water. Stir with a spoon and garnish with lemon slice, basil leaf and dandelion.
Hanging with the kids? Leave out the spirits so they can enjoy a mocktail with mom and dad! Not a fan of one of the spirits we used? Switch it out for something you do like! Experiment with what you like because the possibilities are endless! And when you’re done, you can relax with your garden-to-glass backyard cocktail and know that you’ve raised the bar for happy hour. Cheers!