Boing! Spring’s here. Judging by all the desperate antics I’ve seen for the sun to come out (umm, sorry dude…but wearing shorts when it’s 23 degrees outside isn’t going to change the weather)…we’re ready.

With spring comes the earliest of edible harvests: fresh herbs.

In my last post I described what to do with fresh or dried herbs. In this one I’m taking the fresh factor to cocktail hour. Our city has two restaurants that absolutely excel at creative cocktails. Herbal cocktails to be specific. Both places are committed to developing their menus around what’s local and fresh. So it’s no surprise to see the garden show up in their drinks.

Here are some of the totally off-the-wall but completely delightful herbal cocktail combinations I’ve run across. Let’s make one thing clear. I’m not a mixologist. These are drink combinations that I’ve either tasted or run across and remembered. My hope is these will give you the creative boost to snip off some of your own herbs and see what you come up with.


Cassis, champagne, gin and muddled sage. Note–I enjoyed this cocktail at The Owl House.  It was superb.


Classic gin and tonic dressed up with rosemary, and if you like, cucumber. I tried this version at a place called Lento. They muddled the rosemary—it was fresh bliss. 


Vodka, vermouth, simple lavender syrup and 1/2 vanilla bean


Tequila blanco, lemon & lime juice, agave syrup, tarragon. Another Owl House invention. Tastes like a margarita…but better.


I found a spirit called Herb’s Cilantro Vodka. Clever name. Knowing that cilantro has a love-hate relationship with people I couldn’t resist putting this in.  One recipe called for the cilantro vodka, lime juice and orange liqueur. It’s called the Cilantro Herbarita. Another suggested the vodka with lime juice, brown sugar, and pomegranate juice. (This sounds a little I-don’t-know… to me, but it may be surprisingly tasty.)

Now you’re armed with sufficient herb cocktail combinations to confidently get fresh with your bartender. Ask what he or she has or recommends. If you end up with a memorable cocktail please come back and share.

Photo attribution: Ann Lari Valentine