Raise the bar with garden-fresh ingredients that transform cocktails into signature drinks ByMarty Ross
Cheers! Drinks made with just-picked herbs, fruit, and vegetables as flavorings and garnishes are the toast of the summer party season, whether made with alcohol or not.
As cocktail gardeners have grown more adventurous, the happy-hour repertoire has expanded well beyond the classic sprig of spearmint for juleps and mojitos and into the realm of refreshing homegrown blackberry cocktails and summer drinks garnished with edible dianthus petals and frilly little marigolds. When the ingredients are within easy reach of an imaginative backyard bartender, every cocktail becomes a flourishing signature drink.
Above all, a cocktail garden should be a pretty and comfortable spot, saysMary Palmer Dargan, a landscape architect who lives in Atlanta and in Cashiers, NC. Good design should really come first. "My recipe for a successful cocktail garden is easy," Dargan says. "You need a flat place for a table and chairs, and anétagère— a two-tier table where you can park wine or cocktail mixes and backup glasses."
What to grow
Herbs for Cocktails
Lavender, Rosemary, Orange mint,Cuban mint, Spearmint, Thai basil, Genovese basil, Golden lemon thyme Lemongrass Lemon verbena Cilantro Rose-scented geranium.
Veggies and Fruits for Cocktails
Gherkin cucumber, Red currant, Hot pepper, Alpine strawberry, Mini watermelon