Julie and I have been doing a lot of focus lately on renovations and also gardening.
Recently with the advent of 100+ degree days in Phoenix and her greenhouse taking off with herb-idge, we decided it was time to dry, cook, and even make cocktails with the bounty.
We begin our cocktails with a simple syrup. If you keep a jar of this in the fridge, you are ready to mix anything.
Equal amounts sugar and water in a saucepan, heat and stir until sugar melts.
I decided to counter the super sweet with something tart, so I added the juice of a few limes to the syrup.
We wanted to add some healthy components to the cocktails so instead of just throwing a sprig of mint or such in a drink, we were going to add muddled herbs. You can muddle herbs by putting in the glass and use the back of a spoon to mash it open, releasing the oils, or a mortar and pestle.
To lighten up the drink and make up the majority of liquid content, we chose club soda to make these effervescent.
GREENHOUSE BASIL MARGARITA
This one blew my mind! I was a bit hesitant to use basil as it's a powerful taste, but holy wow!
We started with 1/4 c. simple syrup, juice of one lime, and 1/8 c. muddled basil, strained. We added club soda and tequila. We decorated with a lime wedge (squeezing more lime in makes it off the charts good), and a sprig of basil.
Don't forget to utilize the herbs in many ways. You can dice them tiny and put into ice cube trays and freeze to add to cooking later, dry them completely and store in jars, root some cuttings in water to grow more plants, gather seeds once they flower for next time you have a crop, utilize fresh in your omelets, cooking, pizzas, sauces, and don't forget the cocktails.
As well, don't neglect things like melons growing in your summer garden, figs, berries.... amazing cocktails with powerhouse vitamins as well!
If you like to pack your summer cocktails with lots of ice, a highball glass shows them off so well. You can even put some fresh fruit into the glass and have it show through on display.