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Don’t Discard Mint or Basil! Use ‘Em To Make Tasty Herb-Infused Cocktails — 2 Recipes

This easy trick gets the most flavor out of the herb for an extra delicious drink!

Every spring, I grow herbs — like rosemary and mint — for both cooking purposes and to beautify my patio. My homegrown herbs come in handy for marinades, salad dressings, and pasta dishes; but often, I have an abundance of herbs and not a lot of immediate uses for them. As a result, they get thrown away once they spoil. However, this summer, I’ve decided to use my excess herbs to whip up homemade drinks with a burst of freshness. For advice on how to maximize the flavors of herbs for DIY drinks, I consulted gardening and mixology pro. Keep reading for her tips on crafting herb-infused cocktails, plus to find two yummy drink recipes.

How to get the most flavor out of an herb for cocktails

Rebecca Sears, CMO and Resident Green Thumb at Ferry-Morse, notes that when it comes to making drinks, herbs are the ultimate flavor enhancer. “The beauty of herbs is that you can grow most varieties, like mint and rosemary, indoors all year round — but if you don’t cook with them frequently you may find yourself with extra leaves and sprigs,” she says. “Instead of them going to waste, you can use those leftover herbs to practice making flavorful cocktails and mocktails.”

Below, you’ll find Sears’ two tips for utilizing extra herbs — whether homegrown or store-bought — to make the most delicious drinks.

1. Muddle the herbs beforehand.

Lightly crushing or bruising the herbs, a process called muddling, releases their natural fragrance and eliminates any grassy taste. Most muddlers, like the Natureland Stainless Steel Cocktail Muddler, are inexpensive and easy to find. But if you’re new to mixology or need something to muddle with in a pinch, use a small rolling pin or a wooden spoon. To do: Place soft herb leaves like basil or mint in a sturdy glass before gently pressing down and twisting them two to three times with the muddling tool. Once muddled, use herbs in the drink and then strain before serving or leave them in for a pop of green.

2. Get creative with your herb and drink infusions.

Think outside the box when it comes to the herbs you’re choosing for your drinks. For instance, parsley is often used to add rich flavor to Italian or Mediterranean dishes — but you can also combine it with lemons or grapefruits to make refreshing drinks, as the parsley’s bitterness complements the citrus fruit’s tartness. Lavender also works nicely in gin as it’s an herb that adds a fragrant floral aroma to the spirit, which is perfect for brunch cocktails. 

2 herb-infused cocktail recipes

After all of that mixology talk, it’s finally time to indulge in a drink. Sears shares two ways a sweet herb like mint can be turned into a cocktail. Use these recipes as inspiration to create your own herb-infused beverages all year round. (This Classic Mint Julep recipe is worth trying too!)

Rhubarb Mint Julep

Rhubarb Mint Julep as part of a guide on making recipes for herb cocktails


  • 2 cups (about 3 to 4 stalks) rhubarb, coarsely chopped 
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • Crushed ice


  • Yield: 8 servings
  1. Combine chopped rhubarb and sugar in saucepan, stirring occasionally over medium heat until rhubarb breaks down and the sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil one minute, then remove from heat and cool completely. Purée ingredients in blender. Add lemon juice and pulse to combine.
  2. Once cocktail is ready to assemble, pour about one ounce rhubarb mixture into cocktail glass. Add 2 to 3 fresh mint leaves and muddle to release mint essence. Add crushed, top with 2 ounces bourbon, and garnish glass with fresh mint.

Garden-to-Table Mint Mojito

Garden-to-Table Mint Mojito as part of a guide on making recipes for herb cocktails


  • 8 oz. white rum
  • ½ cucumber
  • ¾ cup mint
  • 4 tsp. simple syrup or 2 tsp. raw sugar
  • 4 tsp. lime juice
  • 16 oz. club soda
  • Ice


  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Quickly rinse mint leaves and chop coarsely to get most flavor. Save some for garnish.
  2.  Slice cucumber into moderately thin slices and cut limes into quarters.
  3. Pour rum, simple syrup, lime juice, chopped mint leaves, and cucumber slices into pitcher with ice. 
  4. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. To serve, pour 3 oz. cocktail mixture into glass with ice and top with club soda. Give glass quick stir, garnish with whole mint leaves, and lime slice. Cheers!

For more refreshing drink recipes, check out the stories below!

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