3 Herb Cocktails Worth Celebrating

Welcome, cocktail enthusiasts and herb lovers alike, to a realm where taste buds are tantalized, senses are enchanted, and the beauty of herb gardening intertwines with the art of mixology. Today, we're diving into a trio of extraordinary elixirs that will take your cocktail game to new heights while embracing the wonders of your homegrown herbs from McDonald Garden Center. Join us as we unlock the secrets of these spellbinding concoctions and embark on a journey through flavors, aromas, and the joy of cultivating your own herb garden. 


Starting Your Herb Garden

Every great cocktail starts with great ingredients. Starting your own herb garden is also an easy way to both get into gardening, as well as provide excellent accents to your cocktails and culinary dishes. 

First, you need to select the herbs you think you will use the most. If you have never created an herb garden before, we recommend solid basics like sweet basil, mojito mint, cilantro, sage, and thyme. Once you get into the groove of what you enjoy, then you can go into different varieties and types of herbs.

Planting herbs can be done in raised beds or containers with the right soil and amendments. For raised beds you will want to combine compost, topsoil and your native soil as well as a draining element like perlite. For containers, you will want to use an organic, high-quality potting mix like our McDonald Garden Center Potting Soil so your herbs stay well watered and fed.

When it comes to light, most herbs like full sun to grow. But, make sure you check the labels of your herbs or as our Green Team members for specifics on caring for your herb garden. For more information immediately, check out  Mike, the Garden Guru’s, webinar here.      


Now that your herbs are growing, it’s time to concoct a cocktail worth celebrating:   

Recipe 1: A Minted Magic Potion - Our Twist on the Classic Blackberry Mint Julep


  • 6-8 fresh blackberries
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce blackberry liqueur
  • Crushed ice
  • Fresh mint sprig and blackberries for garnish

Finally! A summer soiree and wicked elegance come together for a fabulous, fresh drink. In a highball glass, muddle fresh blackberries, mint, and sugar. Save a few blackberries and sprigs of mint for garnish later. Then add your crushed ice and bourbon. Add your blackberry liqueur last for a gorgeous ombré effect to your potion. 


Recipe 2: Sage Infused Fizz - Pear & Sage-Ginger Champagne


  • 1 ripe pear, peeled and sliced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4-6 fresh sage leaves
  • Sage simple syrup (adjust to taste) - see recipe below
  • 2 ounces pear juice or nectar
  • Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
  • Pear slices and fresh sage leaves for garnish

Pair the crispness of freshly sliced pear, the warmth of ginger, and the herbal allure of sage with the effervescence of champagne. In a coupe glass, add in sage-infused syrup and pear juice or nectar. Then add in your champagne until the glass is mostly full. Lastly, add pear, ginger, and sage garnishes. 

Sage Simple Syrup


  • 10-12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Bring water to boil and add in sugar until dissolved. Add in sage leaves and let boil for 60 seconds. Take the mixture off the stove and let it steep for 30 mins-1 hour depending on how powerful you want the flavor to be. Pour mixture into a resealable container through a mesh strainer and it is ready for use. This syrup lasts for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. 


Recipe 3: Garden Spice Martini - Vanilla, Pepper & Thyme Martini


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce vanilla liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey or simple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • Ice cubes
  • Fresh thyme sprigs and a lemon twist for garnish

As you sip this Martini, appreciate the symphony of flavors that originates from your own herb garden. Combine simple syrup, vodka, vanilla liqueur and lemon juice over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Poor into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a few pink peppercorns and a sprig of thyme.

Vanilla, Pepper, Thyme Simple Syrup


  • 5-10 peppercorns to taste
  • 1-2 Vanilla Beans or ½ tsp of paste 
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water

Combine sugar, water, peppercorns, scraped vanilla bean seeds/pod and thyme in a medium saucepan over med/high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain, using a fine mesh strainer and reserve simple syrup. You will have enough simple syrup for about 12 martinis and you can reserve unused syrup for several days covered in the refrigerator.


Share your herb cocktail creations with us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok! To learn more about what’s growing on at our garden center, check out Mike, the Garden Guru, and his webinars with new plants, products, and expert planting advice.