I’ve unearthed this forgotten column that I started years ago since there has been a genuine interest in cocktail gardens as of late. Over on Instagram there have been a few conversations now about growing herbs, flowers, and plants for use in cocktails. This could mean just a garnish, or ingredients for an infusion or a tincture.
I LOVE that readers have been getting more interested in this subject but I am not an expert in this field by any means. So recently I asked my friend Kristin from Dine By Design if I could interview her and talk about what’s growing in her incredible garden. You can catch the whole video on Stir and Strain’s IGTV or, even easier, just watch the video below!
During our discussion on herbs, Kristin introduced me to this lovely coconut thyme, which really smells tropical, but also of thyme, and I knew I had to make something with it. A few weeks ago I shared this delicate, vermouth based cocktail using your standard thyme, Thyme for Tea. And if you like that flavor then I really think you’ll love this more robust thyme cocktail.
Old Fashioneds are usually known for their whiskey base, but as you’ve seen on here they are also great with rum, or mezcal. But did you know gin can also fit into this equation? When creating new syrups and tinctures I like to try them out in a very simple cocktail to see how they initially will play with a spirit. Sometimes I just stop there and enjoy the drink. Today’s cocktail lets you enjoy the full aroma of the coconut thyme, via a simple syrup, against the subtle backdrop of a London dry style gin. Any more botanical gins are going to bury that flavor and aroma so steer clear of those. I’ve added a few drops of bergamot bitters to add a little complexity to the mix; it’s simple but works.
Coconut Thyme Gin Old Fashioneds
2 ounces London dry style gin
3/4 ounce coconut thyme syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes bergamot bitters
In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, pour in gin, coconut thyme syrup and bitters. Stir 20 seconds and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass.
Coconut Thyme syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
large handful of coconut thyme, cleaned
In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture has reached just about a boil and all the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and add thyme to the saucepan. Cover and let sit 1 to 2 hours. Strain into an airtight container. Discard thyme and refrigerate syrup for up to two weeks.
Now if you’re thinking, I don’t have a farm, or even a backyard, how am I going to create a cocktail garden? Well, you just need a window, or a grow light! A lot of the items we talk about in the video you can grow in containers, so if that was holding you back from starting your own tiny cocktail garden, consider this the nod to start.
Kristin will have a post soon that I will link to here with more informational links, but if you’re looking for a great resource to start with about growing and using plants in your kitchen or bar, start with The Cook’s Herb Garden. It has lots of photos and tips to help you along to creating a cocktail garden, as well as growing herbs to use in your everyday cooking including how to harvest, store and use what you grow.
I hope that you’ll find this information useful however you’re choosing to use flowers, herbs, and plants in your cocktails. Let us know below or contact us on social with what you’re growing in your cocktail garden.