A Unique Garden-Variety

Homegrown Herbs Make for Heady Cocktails

I’ve never felt more like a chump than when I was in Provence. As I walked along the
trails of Cap d’Antibes, the wild hedges of rosemary were easily 20 to 30 feet tall and
extended—without hyperbole—for miles. And that’s just the rosemary. Add to this the lavender, thyme, wormwood, and all manner of other herbs, and it was sufficient to set the senses and mind reeling. Thinking of how much money I spend for a few small sprigs of what-have-you, when here it all grew so casually and in such comical abundance, almost made me physically ill. It was enough to inspire a change on my return.

Aside from the economics of growing your own herbs, the colors, fragrances, and flavors are such a treat. I like to pay homage to my homegrown herbs by combining them. Similar to a mixed spice syrup, you can blend the herbs proportionally to allow the flavors you prefer to shine through. It makes for a refreshing cocktail when partnered with gin or vodka, along with lemon, tonic, and (with a nod to Provence), a splash of pastis.




1 ½ ounces gin or vodka
¼ ounce pastis
¾ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce herb syrup*
Tonic or club soda
Mixed herb garnish


In a tumbler, combine the vodka or gin, pastis, lemon juice, and herb syrup. Shake with ice and double strain into a Collins glass. Add ice, and top with tonic or club soda. Garnish with fresh garden herbs.

*Herb Syrup: Combine sprigs of your favorite herbs (rosemary, lavender, mint, thyme, tarragon, sage) to equal half a cup. In a small pot over high heat, boil one cup of water then add the herbs. After 10–15 seconds, remove the herbs and immediately plunge them into ice water. When cold, drain, then dry on paper towels. Remove leaves and add to a blender with ½ cup of rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water). Blend for one minute, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer.