Botanically-Inspired Cocktails for Summer

We love a drink that’s good and good for you. And with summer herb gardens in bloom and local fruits readily available, we were inspired to compile a few delectable and botanical summer cocktails with fresh produce and herbal muddles. Cheers to a botanically inspired summer!

Loaded with vitamins, nutrients and electrolytes, watermelon is a queen of melons and a star of cocktails. Because of its high water content, when thrown in a blender, it comes out with no texture, just juice. For those who prefer a pulpy concoction, muddle the watermelon instead of blending.

All recipes make 2 cocktails. 

WATERMELON MARTINI

Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

Martini:

  • 2 cups seedless watermelon chunks 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, for rimming
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, for rimming
  • 4 ounces vodka (4 jiggers or shots)
  • Lime juice from 1 large lime
  • Watermelon slices, for garnish

Chill 2 glasses and prepare the rims by rubbing with lime and rolling salt/sugar mix. Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small pan. Heat slowly over medium heat stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool.

Make the watermelon juice (muddle or a blender or a nutribullet) and combine watermelon juice, vodka, lime juice, simple syrup in a cocktail shaker w/ ice and mix. Garnish with watermelon slices

WATERMELON MARGARITA

  • Sea salt, for rimming
  • 1 cup seedless watermelon hunks
  • 2 ounces tequila (2 jiggers or shots)
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 large lime
  • Watermelon, lime, mint for garnish

Prepare the rim salt. Muddle or blender the watermelon. Fill a shaker with ice, watermelon juice, tequila, triple sec and lime juice and shake. Also excellent when frozen, simply toss all of the ingredients into a blender with 1 cup of ice (about 5 or 6 average cubes) and blend until smooth. Spicy version: Add muddled jalapeño slices. Botanical version: Add muddled basil, mint, or parsley.

What’s the difference between a greyhound and a salty dog?

Glad you asked! A salty dog uses vodka (or gin), and grapefruit juice, served in a highball glass with a salted rim. A greyhound is the same, minus the salt.

SALTY DOG W/ VODKA + THYME (a delicious mocktail without the vodka)

Thyme Simple Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 sprigs of thyme

Cocktail:

  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rim
  • 1 cup pink grapefruit juice  
  • 2 ounces (2  jiggers or shots) vodka
  • Squeezed juice from 2 limes
  • Thyme sprigs for garnish

Prepare thyme simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a saucepan and stirring over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, add thyme, steep for 30 minutes. Strain.

Run lime wedge around the outer rim of the glass and roll it in salt (in a saucer) to coat the outside rim. Combine grapefruit juice, vodka, lime juice, and thyme syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Shake and strain the cocktail into glass over ice. Garnish with thyme (or lime!)

Botanical Gardens are our inspiration for … well, everything.

What better source for botanically-inspired cocktails but from world renowned botanical gardens? We especially liked these two recipes from London’s Kew Gardens

GIN ST CLEMENT’S (without gin for a citrus mocktail)

  • 2 ounces (2 jiggers or shots) gin 
  • About 1⅓ cups of bitter lemon 
  • Juice of 2 freshly squeezed oranges  

Place  ice in a tumbler. Pour over the gin followed by the bitter lemon. Finish with freshly squeezed orange juice to taste.  

THE WALLED GARDEN

When you think of an English garden, the first image to come to mind? Roses! This enchanting concoction is all floral with a strong kick and ready in only two steps. 

  • 4 ounces (4 jiggers or shots) vodka, chilled
  • 2 ounces rose water 

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker w/ ice and mix. Maybe, with a rose behind the ear while sipping.

 

We also looked to Hawaii’s National Tropical Botanical Garden for tropical inspiration.

TROPICAL REFRESHER  

  • 4 ounces (4 jiggers or shots) of Guava juice
  • 3 ounces (3 jiggers or shots) coconut rum 
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves (or basil)
  • Lemon/lime soda (or seltzer for a less sweet version)
  • Lemon wedge for garnish

In a shaker tin, combine coconut rum, guava juice, and kaffir leaves then muddle about 5 times. Pour into glass, add ice and splash with soda or seltzer. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

This last botanical blast of a cocktail from the website of Piedmont Grocery, a 120 year-old family-owned grocery store located in North Oakland California.

They combine Saint Germain Liqueur (made of elderflower) and St. George Botanivore Gin (made from 19 different botanicals). Described as “herbaceous, fresh, and elegant with bright citrus, subtle floral notes, earth, and spice” this drink sounds like a blooming meadow over ice.

THE BOTANIC GARDEN COCKTAIL

Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

Cocktail:

  • 3 ounces (3 jiggers or shots) St. George Botanivore Gin
  • 1 ounce St. Germain
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 4 mint leaves
  • 2 cucumber slice
  • Mint leaves or lime slice for garnish 

Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small pan. Heat slowly over medium heat stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool. Muddle the mint leaves and cucumber together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients and shake until chilled.

Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lime slice and a sprig of mint.



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