Booze & Botany

Things are  growing on the balcony, not as much as I would like but at least my mint and my basil has become big enough to actually use. Feels like a miracle considering the cold and rainy weather we’ve been having of late.  In addition I brought some freshly cut herbs from the cottage; some to freeze and a handful to make what I often refer to as “garden syrup”.


The recipe originally came from The Drunken botanist by Amy Stewart. It’s a wonderful book that contains competent gardening advice, some very good cocktail recipes and loads of fun anecdotes about herbs, spices and other cocktail ingredients; their history and other uses, that sort of thing (which I very much like). Stewart knows her stuff, I’ve learned plenty from this although mostly about gardening and that sort of annoying little tidbits of information that I insist of telling everyone at the most inappropriate time.

As I make this, it is a handful of herbs that’s added when making a syrup giving you a fresh and flavorful sweetener to your cocktails. Most herbs are good but I basically go with a combination of mint,basil and a little thyme. Makes for a good partner with gin, blanco tequila and if adding some fruit or berries* too, light rum. But you can experiment and find your own cool mix that works with what you want to make. I often add a bit to a G&T (I’m basic) or some kind of sour (not only basic but also a lazy mixologist in summer). Terrific added to a bit of prosecco. Also a very handy thing for non-alcoholic drinks, mixed with soda and some citrus juice.

It’s easy to make, and easy to use. I’ve poured this stuff on fruitsaladf (to be fair I’ve poured most kinds of syrups over fruit and it usually works. Ginger syrup is especially good, as is green jasmin tea syrup. Very sophisticated that last one if I might say so myself but not necessarily for everyone (pour it over lychees I tell you)).

Garden syrup; last about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Best made in many small batches.

2,5 dl of water

2,5 dl of caster sugar

a handful of herbs (about 1,5 dl loosely packed).

  1. On medium heat add the sugar to the water and stir gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the herbs and let simmer for about 7-10 minutes.
  3. Sieve it and then let cool before transferring to a bottle. Keep in the fridge.

*strawberries, blackberries or melon are particularly good. Makes sure to muddle those with the syrup so the flavours properly blend.

Also check out;

The drunken botanist 



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