After a long, hot day in the summer sun, most of us look forward to relaxing with a cool drink. These recipes combine just-picked herbs with fresh fruit, fruit juices, liqueurs and distilled spirits to make inspired cocktails. Some are classics enhanced with herbs, while others are inventions or concoctions from years of practice enjoying libations. Sharing a cocktail before a meal is not only a great way to unwind, but it is a long-standing social practice, whether it is for a fundraiser, a celebratory occasion or just boat drinks on a sunny day. These herbal libations lend themselves to smooth sipping, so kick back and put your feet up — whether you’re on the veranda, patio, deck, tailgate, picnic blanket, lawn or beach chair — and enjoy the refreshment.
Warning: These cocktails are smooth and go down easy, so be judicious, and remember that you are legally responsible for the amount of alcohol your guests drink. Most of these beverages can be made without the alcohol (noted below in recipes), and still make for a lovely libation.
Susan Belsinger is a frequent contributor to The Herb Companion who loves to sip herbal cocktails in her Maryland home.