A cocktail garden abundant with fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs brings the bar straight to your home, allowing you to host wonderful soirees that guests will be talking about for years to come. Easy to grow (for the most part) and satisfying to tend to, the combinations are endless when it comes to crafting the perfect cocktail garden.
British brand Artichoke, makers of beautiful period-inspired interiors including bespoke kitchens, boot rooms, and custom bars, are experts in quintessential English country living. So, who better to provide us with authentic suggestions of what we should be growing in our cocktail garden this summer to make mouth-watering garden-to-glass tipples? Read Artichoke’s tips and prepare to become a mixologist extraordinaire!
A good cocktail garden always includes a wide variety of herbs to suit different drinks. Easy to grow in your greenhouse or in a sunny spot outside with good drainage, fresh herbs will transform any classic drink to an elaborate cocktail with a botanical twist.
The combinations are endless: sprigs of thyme in your G&T, basil in a white wine sangria, fresh mint juleps and mojitos, or a lemon rosemary martini. Sage, verbena, dill and coriander are also fantastic additions to consider when building your cocktail garden. Vodka enthusiasts will appreciate a shaken savoury martini with pickle and dill, or the more exotic coriander-ginger martini.
Dwarf citrus trees are a staple for a successful cocktail garden. Limes, oranges and lemons typically grow in Mediterranean climates, but they are happy outdoors during England’s warmer months – just move your tree indoors or into the greenhouse during the winter to shield it from frost. These fruits ripen around the year, so you’ll always have them on hand.
Bitter or tart, lemons and limes elevate any classic drink. A squeeze or a twist of lemon goes hand in hand with a glass of whiskey, or add a few ingredients to make a delicious whiskey sour.
Limes add a drop of exoticism in any drink. Use lime juice and a sweetener like maple syrup for an easy and delicious rum daiquiri. Meanwhile oranges – or mandarins – make for extra flavourful drinks; juice them for a fun and summery tropical sunrise cocktail or add orange zest to a glass of rye and bitters with a sprinkle of cinnamon for a true taste explosion.
Cucumbers are the ultimate addition to any English cocktail garden. Some varieties grow well in cooler temperatures whilst others will need to be sheltered in a warm greenhouse. Usually sown in the spring (from April until May), your home-grown cucumbers will be ready in the summer, just in time for a succession of garden parties.
From delicate gimlets to the classic G&T, these cool veggies are a refreshing addition to almost any gin-based cocktail. Just mix your favourite gin with some elderflower liqueur, ice, tonic and a splash of lime juice – or apple juice – and decorate with cucumber ribbons and a sprig of your herb of choice. They’re also great to include in a pitcher of Pimm’s.
Marigold flowers are an original addition to your drinks and a beautiful splash of colour for your cocktail garden. These vivid orange edible flowers will liven any cocktail with their peppery citrus notes reminiscent of saffron. They’re easy to grow in any garden, as long as they get some sunshine. A gorgeous garnish to any drink, mixologists often infuse their gin or vodka with marigold, both of which pair very well with sweeter, honey or syrup-based cocktails. The subtle spicy flavour of marigold elevates any tequila beverage. Simply add it to your tropical punch or scatter the petals in your favourite margarita.
For those who prefer a delicate floral flavour, consider planting some English lavender in a dry, sunny spot. Use the fresh flowers to make a syrup, delicious in a Tom Collins with a lavender twist.
The possibilities don’t end there. There are many more fantastic ingredients you can grow in your cocktail garden: berries, juicy tomatoes, or hot peppers for cocktails that pack a punch. So, whichever cocktails take your fancy this summer, plan ahead and make sure that your garden can offer everything you need to spice them up!