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Summertime Cocktails from the Garden

Posted on June 21, 2016 in Garden, Edible Gardens

Written by West Coast Gardens

 

Now that your garden is planted and the bounty of summer is upon us, its time to step back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. So, trade in your trowel for a cocktail shaker and create some delicious cocktail made out of ingredients grown in your garden (or from your local farmer). Put together easy homemade syrups and infusions to make simple but impressive garden cocktails. The possibilities are endless…………

Shrubs

fruit + vinegar based syrups

Originating in the 17th century, Shrubs are a vinegar and fruit based syrup. They are made with fresh fruit, vinegar, and sugar. Berries are perhaps the finest fruit for shrubs, but cherries, peaches, plums, pears, and rhubarb may be used. Fruit should be ripe and sweet, but they do not need to be perfect. Shrubs are great mixed with sparkling water or with gin for a refreshing aperitif. They can also be used as a base for salad dressing. If using berries, the ratio is 2 cups sugar, 2 cups vinegar, 4 cups fruit.
Below is my favourite shrub…

RHUBARB SHRUB (or a Shrubarb)

For Shrub

  • 2 pounds rhubarb cut into ¼” pieces (about 6 cups)
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1¼ cups sugar

For Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • Tonic water (for serving)
  1. Combine rhubarb, vinegar, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is completely broken down and strands are visible, 10–15 minutes.
  4. Using a fine-mesh sieve or a colander strain mixture into a glass container.
  5. Let cool to room temperature, then chill.

For each cocktail—

  1. Combine gin, lime juice, and 1½ ounces reserved ginger-rhubarb shrub in a shaker.
  2. Fill shaker with ice and shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 sec.
  3. Strain into an ice-filled Collins-style glass, filling three-quarters full.
  4. Top off with tonic water.

The shrub makes enough for 12 cocktails.
Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week.
*I usually make up a batch of roasted rosemary spiced nuts to go with it.

 


 

Simple Syrups

This sweetener lives up to its name—generally, it’s equal parts granulated sugar and water heated simply until the sugar crystals dissolve. Simple syrups can be as varied and diverse as any other food stuff. By mixing in spices, herbs, fruit—truly anything you can imagine – you have instant flavoured sweetener.  Here are two summer cocktails using herb infused simple syrups…

 

LAVENDER SAGE SLING

For Syrup

  • 12 ounces bianco vermouth
  • tablespoon dried lavender buds
  • 4 sage sprigs

For Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce Lavender-Sage Vermouth
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ounce honey
  • 2 ounces chilled club soda
  • 1 sage sprig, for garnish
  1. In a small saucepan, bring bianco vermouth and dried lavender buds to a boil.
  2. Cook at a low simmer until reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, add sage sprigs and let stand for 2 hours.
  4. Strain the infused vermouth into a jar; refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

For each cocktail—

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the gin, Lavender-Sage Vermouth, lemon juice and honey and shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled, ice-filled collins glass.
  4. Stir in the club soda and garnish with the sage sprig.

A lovely ladies drink for an afternoon garden party.
Pair with savoury scones.

 


 

BLUEBERRY MINT LEMONADE

For Syrup

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • ½ cup packed mint leaves (to taste)

For Lemonade

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 5 cups sparkling water
  • blueberry mint simple syrup
  1. Combine granulated sugar and water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat,
    stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the blueberries and mint leaves and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer
    until blueberries have broken down and release juices, approximately 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sauce pan from heat and strain the blueberry mint simple syrup through a
    cheesecloth or fine sieve.
  4. Place the syrup back on the stove and simmer for another 10 min until the syrup thickens.
  5. Pour into a clean, sterilized mason jar and let cool.
  6. In a large pitcher, stir together freshly squeezed lemon juice, sparkling water and
    blueberry mint simple syrup.
  7. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

For Lemonade—

  1. In a large pitcher, stir together freshly squeezed lemon juice, sparkling water and
    blueberry mint simple syrup.
  2. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

Serve over ice and garnish with blueberries, lemon slices and mint leaves, if desired.
*I like to freeze blueberries, that way they stay cold longer.
Ideal for afternoon sipping on those long, hot summer days.

 


 

Fruit-Filled Pimm’s

What’s a summer garden party without some Pimm’s? The tawny-coloured gin-based drink known as Pimm’s No.1 was crafted in the early 19th century as a special herbal liqueur to aid in digestion and marketed as a health tonic. Mr. James Pimm, the drink’s creator, served the liqueur at his oyster bar out of a small tankard called the No. 1 Cup. The drink became so popular that in 1850, Pimm began large-scale production to sell it by the bottle to other taverns. This version uses muddle basil to make ice cubes…

MUDDLED BASIL PIMM’S

For Cocktail

  • small bunch basil
  • 500ml Pimm’s
  • 1½ l chilled seven up
  • 1½ cups sliced strawberry
  • ½ sliced cucumber
  1. The night before, blend the basil leaves with 2½ cups of water.
  2. Fill 2-3 ice cube trays and freeze overnight until solid.
  3. When ready to serve, mix the Pimm’s with the chilled seven up in a large jug.
  4. Add some basil ice cubes, the sliced strawberries and cucumbers, stir and serve.

Perfect for a crowd.

 


 

Infusions

Booze infusions are very simple—you soak ingredients in a base alcohol until you like the taste. Once you have a flavour combo in mind, simply prepare your infusion ingredients and add them to a spotlessly clean mason jar. Top your infusion ingredient with your base, lid your mason jar tightly and set your jar in a cool, dark place.

RASPBERRY LIQUER

Unfortunately, this recipe isn’t something you can whip up and enjoy in a weekend. It takes at least a couple months for the full flavour to develop. I usually make it in July in order for it to be ready for Christmas sipping. But let me tell you, it’s worth the wait and its incredibly easy to make. Just raspberries, sugar and vodka. It makes a perfect Christmas gift.
For Infusion

  • 24 oz of fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 3½ cups vodka (or a 750 ml bottle)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 large mason jars with lids
  1. Split the bottle of vodka evenly between the two mason jars.
  2. Add half of the raspberries to each jar.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to each jar.
  4. Put lids of the jars.
  5. Shake several times the first day until all of the sugar has dissolved.
  6. Store in a cool, dark place for a minimum of two months but preferably three.
  7. Shake every day or two.
  8. Strain liquid then transfer to clean, sterilized bottles.
  9. The raspberries (which are probably white by now) can be used atop ice cream for a couple of days.

Store your bottles in the fridge until ready to drink or give as gifts.

 


download a printable pdf here!