I think that I can readily say that when one thinks of cocktails with herbs, the first one to come to mind is the Mojito. I am a huge fan of the Mojito, being made even more so by the different types made by my sister-in-law (Kiwi Mojitos – yum!), but I figured there must be other options when it comes to using fresh herbs in your cocktails. So, I picked a few of my favourite backyard herbs: sage, basil, rosemary, thyme, and created a few new cocktails for you to try, employing muddling and herb-infused simple syrup (crazy easy to do, don’t let the idea freak you out).

The Mojito can never be replaced (as if!) but that doesn’t mean we can’t give some of mint’s buddies their day in the sun too.

Citrus Sage Cocktail

2 sage leaves

1 tsp. simple syrup

squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 1/2 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. limoncello

1 1/2 oz. orange juice

dash orange bitters

Muddle 1 sage leaf with the simple syrup and lime juice in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the remaining sage leaf. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Take the remaining sage leaf, smack it between your palms a couple of times to release to oils/aroma, then float it on the drink’s surface.


4 sweet basil leaves

1/4 oz. simple syrup

3/4 oz. Peach Purée*

1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 oz. vodka

Muddle the basil, peach purée, simple syrup and lemon juice in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add vodka and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

* Peach Purée: Place 2 ripe peaches (pitted and diced), 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tsp. sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth (I usually use a small blender). Press the mixture through a sieve and discard the leftover peach solids. Makes ~ 1 cup.

Note: If you would like to make this a taller drink (it’s pretty small) I think that half and half with sparkling wine (e.g. prosecco) would be excellent! Basically, a peach-basil bellini.

Strawberry Rose

1 strawberry (fresh, or frozen and thawed)

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz. Rosemary Simple Syrup**

2 oz. dry white wine (e.g. Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)

3/4 oz. Watermelon Vodka (http://www.mixmentor.net/?p=563) or regular vodka

1 watermelon chunk (if using regular vodka)

In a shaker, muddle the strawberry and watermelon chunk (if using regular vodka) with the lemon juice and the simple syrup. Add several ice cubes, the wine and vodka, shake and strain into an ice-filled wine glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Thyme Out

1 oz. orange juice

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

3/4 oz. Thyme Syrup**

4 oz. prosecco (or other sparkling wine)

Pour the juices and the syrup into a champagne flute and top with the prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist and thyme sprig, if desired.

** Rosemary or Thyme Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan over med-high heat, bring 1 cup water to the boil and add 1 cup sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved, then add 4 fresh rosemary sprigs (~6″ each, ~1/2 oz.) for the Rosemary Syrup or 6 fresh thyme sprigs (~4″ each, ~1/2 oz.) for the Thyme Syrup and let boil for 1 minute more. Take off the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Discard sprigs and pour into your glass container/bottle of choice. Keep refrigerated.




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