5 Garden Harvest Cocktails

By Steve Graham, Networx

It’s harvest season, and that doesn’t just mean growing dinner in the yard. Plenty of garden-fresh herbs and vegetables can spruce up great cocktails. Here are five simple garden cocktails from prominent magazines and TV shows, and our ratings. My wife and I put each of these recipes to the test, with herbs, peppers and tomatoes from my garden, and other fruits and vegetables from local organic farms. It’s a tough job but, hey, somebody has to do it.

Frozen Yellow Mary

(from Food and Wine magazine)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds yellow tomatoes, halved and cored
  • 4 sliced jalapeños
  • 16 Thai basil leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Garnish: halved yellow tomatoes and basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

In a jar, cover the jalapeño slices with vodka. Let stand for three hours, then strain. Puree tomatoes in a food processor, then filter the puree through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. Pour juice into ice cube trays and freeze until firm, about three hours.

In a blender, combine the jalapeño vodka, tomato ice cubes and basil. Blend until smooth and season with salt; if the drink is very thick, add a little water and blend again. Pour into glasses, garnish with cherry tomato halves and basil flowers and serve.

REVIEW

Yellow garden tomatoes are like a completely different food group than the mealy red globes at the supermarket. Likewise, yellow tomatoes make a very different drink than a standard Bloody Mary. The flavor of the Yellow Mary is just a little sweeter and more refreshing, and the Thai basil adds a strong but pleasant flavor. The jalapeño vodka adds a nice little bite you can just feel in the back of the throat.

Garden Gin and Tonic

(from Good Housekeeping magazine)

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz tonic water
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3 oz gin
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 2 cucumber slices
  • Garnish: cucumber wheel

DIRECTIONS

Muddle one slice cucumber with two sprigs mint in a glass, then fill with ice. Add gin, tonic and lime juice. Stir and garnish with a cucumber wheel.

REVIEW

Garden mint and cucumbers are a refreshing addition to a traditional gin and tonic. Also, the flavors of mint and cucumber are not overpowered by the lime juice, which instead adds to the complex flavor.

Country Thyme

(from Good Housekeeping magazine)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz agave nectar
  • 1 and 1/2 oz vodka
  • 10-15 fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 oz lemon, cut in pieces
  • 2 -3 fresh thyme sprigs

DIRECTIONS

Muddle berries and lemon in a glass. Add vodka, agave nectar and ice, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Rub three sprigs of thyme between palms to release fragrant oils. Place two sprigs in the bottom of a highball glass and fill with ice. Strain the cocktail over ice and stick the last thyme sprig in the cocktail as a garnish.

REVIEW

I was curious about the name of this cocktail, but it fits. The thyme flavor is very strong, but the drink has a unique and pleasant flavor. It’s also quite strong, with roughly equal parts vodka and all other ingredients. It was a little much for my wife, but I enjoyed the vodka kick.

Mojito Sparkler

(from Better Homes and Gardens magazine)

INGREDIENTS

  • Ice
  • Club soda
  • 2-3 oz gold rum
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp superfine sugar

DIRECTIONS

Crush mint in the bottom of a tall glass. Pour in rum, lime juice and sugar. Add ice, stir and top with club soda.

REVIEW

It’s hard to go wrong with a mojito, but garden-fresh mint makes a great, refreshing summer drink even better. It is very light, probably dangerously so. I could drink these all day. I also used the pineapple mint that has been growing wild in our vegetable patch since before we bought our house. It added a wonderful, subtle hint of pineapple.

Fresh Peach Bellini

(from the Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa” show)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bottle Prosecco sparking wine
  • 1 TBS lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 diced and seeded ripe peaches

DIRECTIONS

Blend peaches, lemon juice and sugar in a food processor. Press the mixture through a sieve and discard the peach solids. Place two tablespoons of the puree into each champagne glass and fill with Prosecco.

REVIEW

The flavor of Prosecco dominates this drink, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the taste of all those Palisade, Colorado peaches is a little bit buried in this drink (and that’s a shame, because I think Palisade peaches hold their own against Georgia’s famed crop). Consider a higher peach-to-Prosecco ratio when making this drink.

Related:
7 Tasty Fruit Cocktails
Make Your Own Infused Vodka
7 Organic Cocktail Recipes

65 comments

J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

interesting

Melanie Wilcox
Melanie Wilcox3 years ago

What a cool way to incorporate fresh fruits and herbs in your cocktails.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

rene davis
rene davis3 years ago

thank-u!

Anastasia J.
Annie J.3 years ago

In Ontario our liquor board publishes a mag called 'Food and Drink' and it's got amazing recipes in every issue. Check it out online for some more great cocktails!

Andrea A.
Andrea A.4 years ago

Thanks.

Jeni Greenwood
Jennifer G.4 years ago

I have to try the Country Thyme, it sounds amazingly good!

Charlene S.
Charla D.4 years ago

A delightful way to use fresh herbs/veggies from the garden. A moderate amount of alcohol (assuming you are not an alcoholic and that you don't have other major health problems) can certainly be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Chaya G.
Chaya G.4 years ago

Next. Sorry for the typo.

Chaya G.
Chaya G.4 years ago

Funny thing, Lynn, is that I am religious! I pray every day and abstain from all kinds of stuff -- but I still understand that alcohol can be consumed responsibly. There's no contradiction! I would love to cook a fresh dinner from the garden accompanied by a delicious cocktail as much as the nest person...and...I have a spiritual life rooted in a spiritual tradition. :)