4 Summer Drink Recipes

Make these cocktails with goods from your garden

From left to right, Elderberry-Basil Shrub Cocktail, The Garden Gin and Tonic, Bergamot and Mint Iced Tea, and Rosemary Caramel Cappuccino

Photo by Susan Laughlin

We asked Liz Barbour of the Creative Feast in Hollis to create a few summer drinks inspired by her cottage garden. She teaches cooking — with an emphasis on hearty herbs, edible flowers and easy-to-grow vegetables — at local libraries, garden clubs, school groups and corporate wellness programs. Her garden cookbook is slated for a fall release. Visit thecreativefeast.com for more information.

Elderberry-Basil Shrub Cocktail
Blast from the past

A fruit shrub is an old-fashioned fruit syrup made with berries, sugar and vinegar, which is soaked for more than 48 hours. Brandy is then added to the resulting syrup. Liz’s recipe can be prepared without the wait. Use this shrub with fresh spring water or as mixer with gin, brandy or your favorite sparkling wine. 

Makes 1 cup of shrub for 4-6 drinks
1 pound fresh elderberries (stems removed)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
10 large basil leaves
1 bottle prosecco or cava

Place the elderberries, sugar and apple cider vinegar into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the heat off and stir the basil leaves into the juice. Steep the basil leaves for 15 minutes. Using a potato masher, gently press the berries a few times to release the juice. Strain the shrub into a bowl. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled. To prepare the cocktail, place 2 ounces of the shrub in a champagne glass. Add 2-4 ounces of prosecco. Garnish with basil leaves. 

The Garden Gin and Tonic
The color of summer

Makes 2 cups of cucumber purée for 4-6 drinks
1 large English cucumber
½ cup mint leaves, packed
¼ cup lime juice from 1 or 2 limes
2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
2 ounces tonic water
Ice cubes
Cucumber for garnish

Cut the cucumber into ½-inch dice and place into a blender with the mint leaves and lime juice. Blend to purée. Fill 4 rocks glasses halfway with ice. Pour in 2 ounces of gin, 2 ounces of cucumber-mint purée and 1 to 2 ounces tonic water. Stir well to combine. Serve with thin slices of cucumber.

Bergamot and Mint Iced Tea
Refreshing and colorful

Makes 1 ½ quarts
6 cups water
1 cup fresh bergamot (bee balm) leaves and stems, rough chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves and stems, rough chopped
Local honey
1 large lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bergamot and mint to the water. Cover the pan and let steep for 15 minutes.

Strain the tea into a pitcher. Stir in honey to taste. Refrigerate the tea until thoroughly chilled. Serve over ice with a squeeze of lemon. If available, garnish with a beautiful bee balm red flower.

Rosemary Caramel Cappuccino
There is a rich reward after preparing this fragrant coffee drink.

Makes 2 cups caramel sauce
Leftover sauce can be used for topping ice cream or chocolate cake or for eating by the spoonful.
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, rough chopped
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring the heavy cream and rosemary to a simmer in a small saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Do not allow the cream to boil. Turn off the heat and let the rosemary cream steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a measuring cup and set aside. Using a second, heavy 6-cup saucepan with tight-fitting lid, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Cover the pan and boil the syrup for several minutes over medium-high heat. Boil until the bubbles are thick.

Uncover the pan and continue boiling until the syrup begins to color. Continue boiling and swirling the mixture a little longer until it is a light caramel brown.

Remove the pan from the heat and continue to swirl as the caramel darkens to a rich caramel color. Holding the pan away from you, add the cream. The caramel will partially congeal. Stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the caramel is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Stir 3 teaspoons of rosemary caramel into a double shot of espresso. Finish with frothed milk. 

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