Bottoms Up! Growing a Cocktail Garden

This summer think about taking the average happy hour to the next level.  All you will need for a creative, gourmet twist on the five o’clock tradition is your backyard garden. Cocktail gardens are making big news in 2015 as bartenders in chic restaurants are mixing up some cutting-edge drink recipes. In raised beds, in pots, or sowed directly into the ground, there are myriads of herbs, fruits, and vegetables you can grow to complement your home cocktail bar.

Whether used for a unique garnish or for the taste, gin and vodka are enhanced by aromatic herbs.  You can muddle mint or basil in the bottom of the glass before you add your spirits. TIP: Because mint grows like a weed, be sure to plant it in a container, a raised bed or away from other plants. In the spring, be sure to trim invasive new starts. Rosemary and sage are two other herbs that will make your drinks soar to new heights.

Don’t stop at herbs. Elevating your cocktail garden means planting a few vegetables and also fruits. Besides, what’s a Bloody Mary without a celery stalk?

The most obvious fruit to grow if you want a cocktail garden is a mini lemon or lime tree. It is possible to grow them in Ohio if you move the plant indoors in the winter and place it in a very sunny spot. For those not able to grow citrus, strawberries do well in any garden and when pureed, make excellent additions to vodka and rum drinks.

One vegetable tops the list for inclusion in the cocktail garden – cucumbers.  Grow cucumbers and use them two ways.  Use them fully grown for their fresh taste.  Or pick them when they are still tiny and pickle them for an innovative garnish. Peppers are also trending. One of Miami’s hottest restaurants (Blackbird Ordinary) makes a Brazilian Magpie with roasted red peppers. Other plants that would taste great in cocktails are ginger, beets, and blackberries. Experiment and have fun!

Stop in to Stockslagers today for advice on growing a cocktail garden.  We have everything you need to grow to make your special garden out of this world.

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