Chill out with these delicious cocktails come summer by planting a cocktail garden this spring.

BY BECKY GARBER

Plant veggies, herbs and fruits this spring for summertime cocktails on the patio.

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When it comes to vegetable gardens, tomatoes and basil are always on the planting list. But what about lavender, mint and pearl onions? All are great additions to summer cocktails, as well as basil and the juice from tomatoes.

What? Basil in a cocktail?

In fact, nearly any edible garden plant can find its way into a cocktail, including lemons, limes, strawberries, raspberries, apples, rosemary, basil, cucumber, stevia and others.

This summer, take entertaining to a new level by growing a cocktail garden. If you plant ingredients this spring, you and guests can enjoy “garden cocktails” come summertime.

But don’t stop at cocktails. Make tasty, pretty ice cubes by freezing lemon balm, mint, stevia or crushed whole strawberries in ice cube trays. For best results, use distilled water to keep the ice clear and not clouded.

For a punchbowl ice float, freeze mint and stevia leaves, berries and edible flowers in a large mold.

The following recipes were provided by Altitude Spirits, a Boulder-based purveyor and importer of organic spirits. These inventive cocktails use everything from jalapeños and garlic to mint and cucumber. All contain fresh ingredients you can grow in your garden.

Visit www.pouredpure.com for more clever concoctions, including cocktails served at local upscale restaurants.

Cheers!

Juniper Green Bee’s Knees

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2 oz    Juniper Green Organic Gin.
1 oz    lavender honey syrup
½ oz    fresh organic lemon juice

Combine and shake all the ingredients with ice. Strain into a martini glass, garnished with a mint leaf.

This recipe calls for lavender honey syrup, made by heating 1 part water, 1 part organic honey, and half a teaspoon of dried lavender blossoms and steeping for 5 to 7 minutes before straining out the lavender. Lavender honey may be substituted.

You can also make lavender syrup by combining 2 cups water and 2 cups finely ground sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a hard simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add 2 cups lavender flowers, stems and leaves wrapped in cheesecloth, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and strain. Store covered in the refrigerator, and use the syrup to flavor vodka, gin or lemonade.

Lemon Basil martini

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2    lemon wedges
3    small basil leaves
1    splash simple syrup
1    splash lemon bitters
3 oz    UK5 Organic Vodka

Combine and muddle ingredients, then place in a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks, garnished with a lemon wedge, basil sprig, lemon twist or a candied lemon rind.

Rainforest Mojito

Kosoff Muddle:

4-6    mint leaves
1 oz    fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 oz    organic raw cane sugar
Add:
2 oz    Papagayo Silver Rum
1 oz    açai juice

Add ice and a splash of soda, stirring gently. Pour into a tall glass and top with fresh ice and a garnish of fresh mint and a lime wedge.

Strawberry Basil Marti

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Muddle:
2-4    fresh strawberries
2    fresh basil leaves
1 oz    Meyer lemon juice
Add:
2 oz     Juniper Green Gin
1 oz    agave nectar (or simple syrup)

Shake and strain into a martini glass, garnished with a strawberry. For a dramatic variation,
float several drops of balsamic vinegar.

Grays and Torreys

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 1¼ oz    Vodka 14
½ oz    Leopold Brother’s Three Pins Alpine herbal liqueur
½ oz    St. Germain elderflower liqueur
½ oz    fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1    splash lavender-infused 
simple syrup

Shake all the ingredients together and serve on the rocks, garnished.

Strawberry Daiquiri

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One of the most famous rum drinks, the daiquiri is actually quite a simple cocktail. In this organic iteration, strawberries provide a lush, fruity flavor.

Muddle:
2–3    strawberries
fresh-squeezed juice of 1 lime
Add:
2 Tbsp    organic cane sugar
1½ oz    Papagayo Organic Silver Rum

Shake and strain into a martini glass, garnished with a slice of strawberry and a wedge of lime.

Go Blonde

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1¾ oz    Highland Harvest Scotch Whisky
1¼ oz    organic sauvignon blanc
1 oz    pressed organic apple juice
1    splash simple syrup
1    splash fresh lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass.

Honey and Marmalade Dram’tini

2 oz    Highland Harvest Organic Scotch Whisky
4 Tbsp    organic acacia or tupelo honey (which don’t crystallize)
½ oz    fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice
1 oz    organic orange juice

Combine ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and serve in a martini glass.

The Infused Bloody Mary

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To make the infused vodka: Place UK5 Organic Vodka, fresh jalapeños, fresh garlic and fresh cilantro in a sealed glass container and let them steep for several days.

2 oz    infused vodka
4 oz    Bloody Mary mix (or a mix of Clamato juice with spicy V-8 or tomato juice)
1    dash Worcestershire To taste    

fresh ground horseradish and Tabasco

Shake over ice. Garnish with a celery stalk, an olive spike and a lime wedge.