The Sipsmith Blog

Botanical Cocktails: Give Your Drinks a Garden-Inspired Twist

in Articles April 30, 2015

Looking to add an aromatic twist to your cocktails? It’s simply a question of nosing around your garden.

Looking to add an aromatic twist to your cocktails? It’s simply a question of nosing around your garden.

The arrival of spring isn’t just worth celebrating because of the nice weather. The season also marks the start of this year’s growing season – and, if you’re like us, that means a return to homegrown, botanical cocktails that feature garden-plucked garnishes and ingredients.

We were first given the idea to add our own, garden-grown produce to our cocktails from our Head Distiller Jared Brown: after all, the fresh lemon verbena that’s a key component of Sipsmith Summer Cup is handpicked in his very own garden. This year, then, you have a brilliant excuse to grow a herb garden of your own: the promise of fresh, zingy, and utterly delicious drinks.

There are a few different ways to incorporate fresh, herbal flavours into your botanical cocktails. For starters, it’s wonderfully easy to make a batch of your own, homemade simple syrup: whether you fancy dosing your drink with thyme, lemon verbena, rosemary or another freshly plucked ingredient, infusing it in syrup is simply a question of boiling it with equal parts water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture steep until flavours have infused – wait 20 minutes or so – before straining, bottling, and cooling in the refrigerator. We love mixing Sipsmith London Dry Gin with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and a small measure of homemade rosemary syrup.

Herbs and other garden-picked ingredients also make rather splendid garnishes – and can even be mixed directly into your drink – but be careful to treat them with respect. Many bartenders muddle their herbs with vigour, but this creates a pulpy consistency, and can often release bitter and unwanted flavours.

Instead of mashing your ingredients to a pulp, then, try giving them a good smack: either put the ingredients between your hands and lightly clap to release their oils and scent, or slap against the back of your hand a few times. You don’t need to be too forceful, here – even a light touch will be enough to release those fragrant and delicious oils without compromising the quality of your drink.

Try out your leaf-smacking skills on your next gin and tonic. Mix up some Sipsmith VJOP with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and top with a smacked basil leaf; you’ll have yourself a cocktail that’s redolent of summer. Alternatively, you can always make yourself a Gin Mojito – swap the white rum for gin, top up with extra limejuice and garnish with a smacked mint leaf.

Inspired? Below, find two more botanical cocktails that are a breeze to make at home – and taste even better with fresh ingredients from your garden.


Sipsmith Gin Rosemary Fizz Cocktail

Rosemary Gin Fizz

60ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin

20ml rosemary simple syrup

15ml lemon

20ml egg white

Dry shake all the ingredients to best incorporate the egg. Add ice and shake a second time. Double strain into a chilled fizz glass and top up with a splash of soda water. Garnish with a slapped rosemary sprig.

Sage Olde Sipsmith

50ml Sipsmith London Dry Gin

12.5ml Yellow Chartreuse

12.5ml fino sherry

20ml lemon juice

egg white

10ml simple syrup,

2 dashes celery bitters

2 sage sprigs

Dry shake all ingredients, then shake with ice. Strain and serve straight up with a sage sprig garnish.

Feature images – © stoeckle/iStock/Thinkstock, loonara/iStock/Thinkstock

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