Pick Your Potion

Botanical cocktails that look like scientific potions were front and center during pur previous Science After Hours event. Mix up your own potion at home with these fun botanical cocktail recipes. 

Herbal experts Nancy Clifton of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Kasey Bersett Eaves, owner of Vivant Gardening Services in Chicago, teamed up to create delicious mixers for cocktails. You can easily make these cocktails at home.

muddling

What makes a cocktail botanical? Mainly, herbs. Just about any herb in your garden can be used to flavor drinks. Herbs + fresh fruit = a delicious base for all sorts of beverages. Grab what’s in season in your garden and experiment. Below you will find recipes to make different herbal simple syrups and shrubs.
 
What’s a shrub, you ask? It’s a tangy syrup made from fruit, sugar, vinegar, and herbs; it was originally used as a way to preserve food.

It’s also helpful to know what muddling is. The process of gently bruising the leaves of herbs releases the fresh, green taste and aroma of the leaves.
 
A few botanical combinations Nancy and Kasey recommend:
Mint + cherry
Thyme + ginger
Lavender + blueberries
Cilantro + habanero
 

Mixer recipes:

Easy Herbal Simple Syrup

  • ½ cup herb of your choice (whole leaves or lightly chopped, packed into measuring cup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar (or honey)

Rinse and drain herbs. In a small, nonreactive pot, stir water and sugar together over heat until sugar dissolves, bringing the mixture just to a boil. Add herbs in, stir gently for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Let the mixture cool (approximately 30 minutes). Strain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for use within a week to 10 days, or freeze in ice cube trays for convenient later use.

Easy Herbal Shrub Recipe

  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 1 tsp herb of your choice (whole leaves or lightly chopped)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)
  • 1 cup sugar (or honey)

Rinse and drain fruit and herbs. Muddle all ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer to a nonreactive pot, stir over heat until sugar dissolves, bringing the mixture just to a boil, then remove from heat. Let the mixture cool. Strain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for use within a week to 10 days, or freeze in ice cube trays for convenient later use.

Cocktails recipes:

Boat maquette

The Bumble Bee
2 ounces vodka or whiskey
2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce cilantro simple syrup
*optional pepper shrub or sparkling water
 
Stir ingredients together and serve over ice.
*garnish with orange slice

Boat in progress

The Cherry Blossom
2 ounces vodka or whiskey
2 ounces tart cherry juice
1 ounce mint simple syrup
*Optional ginger simple syrup

Stir ingredients together and serve over ice.
*Garnish with fresh mint leaves

 

carpenter shop

Science Thyme
2 ounces vodka or whiskey
1 ounce thyme simple syrup
.25 ounce lime juice
Dash of vanilla extract
*Optional ginger simple syrup

Stir ingredients together and serve over ice.
*Garnish with fresh thyme sprig or crystalized ginger.

finished shutters

Bees Knees
2 ounces vodka
.75 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
.75 ounce honey simple syrup
*Optional blueberry lavender shrub

Stir ingredients together and serve over ice.
*Garnish with lemon slice, rind, or lavender flowers

 
Author: 
Julie McCaffrey
Title: 
Public Relations Manager
Published: 
April 5, 2019
Category: 

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