The Bartender's Garden

The Freshest Cocktail Ingredients Come From the Garden

Greentini in a fig tree
Plant your garden with cocktails in mind and enjoy fresh, bright drinks all season long. Photo: S&C Design Studios

Fresh, fresh, will hear mixologists talking about fresh ingredients all of the time. Using fresh squeezed juices, garnishes at their peak, and fresh herbs make otherwise "decent" cocktails spectacular and you cannot get any fresher than growing fruits, vegetables and herbs in your own garden.

If you browse the thousands of cocktail recipes available you will see numerous possibilities for garden-fresh mixers and garnishes.

Planting a Bartender's Garden is just one more way to customize  and improve your drinking experience. If you enjoy gardening anyway, there is no reason not to design a portion of your plantings around your drinking preferences.

I do this in my own garden; planting annuals to experiment with, perennials that are reliable favorites, and choosing faster growing, higher yielding, or more flavorful varieties that work just a little bit better in drinks.

Here are a few suggestions of plants you may want to consider adding to your garden which will enhance your cocktails and homemade spirit infusions, syrups, and other drink mixers. If you have a favorite drink or flavor, add those plants to the list.

Fruits & Vegetables:

Use as garnishes, fresh juices, and flavored infusions.

    Herbs & Flowers:

    Perfect for custom spirit infusion, homemade bitters, shrubs, and syrups, as well as garnishes and muddling.

    Keep your hardiness zone in mind when you are choosing plants, as well as what grows best in your type of soil. For year-round freshness, plant a container garden and bring the pots in when the temperature drops. Containers are perfect for herbs.

    Also, think about edible flowers for garnishes. Be sure when buying flower bedding plants (pansies, geraniums, etc.) that they are either organic or pesticide and growth hormone free if you are going to use them in food or drinks, many are not.