Mint | Basil | Shiso | Lemon Verbena | Rosemary | Cilantro | Dill
Whether they’re muddled, infused or simply snipped for a pretty and fragrant garnish, fresh herbs make a wonderful addition to summer cocktails.
Story by Dave Eckert
So, here we are on the verge of summer, and in bars, restaurants, and homes across the metro, talented and thirsty folks are taking aim at what they’ll be serving and drinking in cocktails this year. I’m not that creative when it comes to mixology, but I know some folks who are. I dedicate this article to them while passing their knowledge onto you!
For those who enjoy mixing it up at home, I turned to Cheryl Bisbee, the founder of Boozy Botanicals, a line of delicious, locally made simple syrups. Bisbee is always coming up with unique and tasty libations featuring Boozy. And, she’s generous with both her time and talents. Recently, she concocted four drinks for a charity event for the John Wornall House. They were perfect there and fit perfectly to my theme of what to drink cocktail-wise this summer.
Bisbee crafted a non-alcoholic Lavender Earl Grey Sweet Tea cocktail, a whiskey-based Rosemary Mint Julep, a Three Pepper Sangria-a wine cocktail, and a Heavenly Hibiscus Hops, which was made with beer. Bisbee says she loves this time of year and the aromas and flavors it provides. “Herb-based cocktails are so enjoyable because they are multi-faceted. They look beautiful when garnished with fresh herbs. They engage your sense of smell as you raise the glass to your mouth. And, they engage your taste buds as you sip your drink. You get to enjoy them three ways,” Bisbee shared. And, in this case, for three months or more!
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more dedicated to the art of craft cocktails than Julep’s Darrell Loo. Loo is Julep’s lead bartender. He teaches cocktail classes there. And, he just returned from a craft cocktail competition in Louisville, KY held last month. Not surprisingly, Loo spent a lot of time creating spring and summer drinks for Julep and its growing number of cocktail-crazed patrons.
“Spring is probably my favorite season of the year, especially working behind the bar. I love using all the fresh and beautiful ingredients that you can play with to create cocktails that you wanna sip on at a patio, backyard or any time with this sunny weather,” Loo told me. Loo says he often turns to citrus for his spring and summer libations as well as herbs like thyme, rosemary, mint, and hibiscus. “Usually, gin and vodka are super popular this time of year, but with the right ingredients, other spirits can shine too!” Loo exclaimed.
Loo recommended three cocktails for spring and summer sipping. I’ve include a picture and recipe for his Irish Rover, made with locally-distilled Sons of Erin Irish Whiskey from North Kansas City’s Restless Spirits and the SaRangHae, which features Korean Shoju as the primary spirit.
The Irish Rover
4 oz Mint Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Falernum
1/4 oz Lillet Blanc
1 1/2 oz Sons of Erin
Old Fashioned Glass
Garnish: Orange Peel
3/4 oz Earl Grey Sauvignon Blanc Reduction
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz Jinro Shoju
Garnish: Edible Flower