In a recent post, I gave lots of instruction about creating your own herbal liquors using a base of vodka or gin and infusing with herbs to provide added flavor, herbiness, and even a bit of benefit.
Some bartenders may use a splash of the above alcohol infusions to impart a strong flavor or the highlighted herb, such as in chef David Burns’ (of Le Meridien Hotel, Chicago) “Herbtini” made from vodka infused with sage, rosemary, and thyme.
However, for a different twist, try another method: muddling herbs at the base of a shaker, along with the alcohols, and simply strain and serve, adding whatever other ingredients may be desired. This is a faster process that may not have quite as strong an infusion, but also provides an herby freshness full of complex flavor and interest.
Here are some fun recipes I came across a few years ago:
Citrus Lavender Martini
1 wedge fresh orange
2 fresh lavender leaves, or 5 – 6 pieces dried lavender
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz cointreau
1/2 oz sweet & sour mix
1 Tbsp honey
Muddle together the orange wedge and lavender at the base of the shaker. Add vodka, Cointreau and sweet & sour mix over ice in a shaker. Skake very well. Rim martini glass with honey and dip rim in sugar. Pour in the mixture and enjoy.
Rasperry Lavender Margarita
1 1/2 oz silver tequila (such as Patron)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 1/2 oz raspberry puree
1/2 oz margarita mix
2 fresh raspberries
1 dried lavender stem
Mix together tequila, Cointreau, raspberry puree, and margarita mix over ice in a shaker. Shake well. Salt the rim of a chilled martini glass. Strain ingredients into the glass. Garnish with raspberries skewered onto a dried lavender stem.
Can you tell I love lavender? I promise, I’ll give you more recipes, but tell me what you’d be interested in! Chocolately tastes, more citrus, or more unusual cocktail combinations using strongly tinctured herbs like elderberry, ginger, or even ginseng. I want to hear from you, readers!