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How to Build a Cocktail Garden (Our Favourite Late Summer Trend)

cocktail garden illustration
Effie Theodosiou/lzysunday

The cocktail garden is one of the hottest new trends among mixologists and gardeners alike, and it’s easy to see why! Planting a cocktail garden simply means planting veggies, fruit and herbs you’d use to make your favourite cocktails and mocktails. This practical, easy approach to gardening is a great way to make sure you have lovely, fresh ingredients on hand for all of your mixology adventures.

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fig and honey prosecco cocktail with fig and herb garnishes.
Abhishek Dekate/Food Network Canada

Related: This Beyonce-Inspired “Pure/Honey” Cocktail is the Perfect Renaissance Sip

How to Create a Cocktail Garden

When it comes to creating a cocktail garden (or any garden, for that matter), the best approach is a kind of reverse engineering. Think about what kinds of drinks you enjoy, and then plant the fruits, veggies and herbs featured in those sips. Love herbaceous, bitter bevvies? Mint, rosemary and thyme are your best friends. Big fan of sweet, refreshing drinks? Berries and melons are a must.

The bottom line is, if you’re growing a garden with the express purpose of using it to make delicious drinks, plant the things you find delicious!

That said, another important factor is space. Cocktail gardens can be any size, but whether you have a vast backyard or a cozy balcony will determine what you can plant – it would be pretty hard to grow watermelons in a pot on a windowsill.

herbs on a windowsill
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Cocktail Garden Plant Ideas

Rosemary

Rosemary is a great addition to a variety of cocktails and mocktails. Keep it simple by adding a sprig of this fragrant herb to a classic gin and tonic, or go all in with a more complex cocktail like a rosemary gimlet.

Basil

Basil isn’t just for sauces and salads – it also makes for a refreshing addition to cocktails! For a creative twist on a classic, substitute basil for the mint in your favourite mojito recipe. At your next dinner party, serve up The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s blood orange and basil ranch water to really impress guests. When it comes to keeping your basil in good shape, prune the leaves regularly to encourage new growth.

Related: This DIY Indoor Herb Garden Can Be Made In 6 Easy Steps

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person tending to herbs in planter garden
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Thyme

Thyme may not be the first herb you think of when it comes to cocktails, but this thyme Aperol spritz is a fresh twist on an old fave. There are many varieties of thyme, and your best bet is to smell them and choose the one that appeals to you most.

Related: This Is Why Your Herbs Keep Dying (And 5 Tips to Bring Them Back!)

Mint

You and a cocktail garden are mint to be! Having plenty of mint on hand means you can always whip up a classic mojito, or bring the taste of summer into fall and winter with this tasty cranberry mojito. Mint is notorious for spreading like a weed, so try planting it in a container so it doesn’t take over your garden.

overhead shot of a bowl of green jalapeno peppers
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Jalapeños

Jalapeños are another versatile cocktail garden option. Spice up Taco Tuesdays with a jalapeño margarita, customizing the spice level by removing some or all of the seeds. If you also grow watermelons, you’ll have all the fixings for a spicy watermelon margarita.

closeup of strawberries on a strawberry bush
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Berries

For fresh and fruity cocktails, raspberries and strawberries are a great staple to have on hand. Raspberries are one of the many berries that grow wild across Canada, and along with strawberries, will come back year after year. Try this delicious strawberry daiquiri, or add a raspberry twist to your favourite cocktails by making a raspberry simple syrup.

Ginger

Finally, give growing ginger a try, and then use it to make your own gingerale or ginger beer – perfect for Moscow mules or ginger beer peach floats.



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