How to Plant a Cocktail Garden

Genevieve Fish

We love artisanal cocktails, especially those made with fresh herbs and scented plants. Unfortunately, we’re not always the best at thinking ahead to our specialty cocktail of the day during our grocery runs. And we really don’t love it when we remember to buy a bushel of fresh herbs, only to have them go bad in the fridge before we use them.

Then we noted the cocktail garden trend that’s been taking over our photo streams, and decided it was time to start our own! It doesn’t matter whether you have a lush garden, a tiny patch of grass, or a windowsill: A cocktail garden is easy to plant (and maintain). Mint, rosemary, and basil are excellent indoor plants that happen to make delicious cocktail ingredients. Even lavender, while not a traditional houseplant, is easy to house indoors as long as you place it by natural light. Bonus byproduct: a soothing home that smells like a spa.

When selecting your plants, don’t purchase ones that have already been growing outside. This will traumatize them and stall their production! Also, have realistic expectations. Even though your cocktail garden may be inside, you can’t expect a full crop in the dead of winter. Like your hair and your nails, your herbs need to be clipped and trimmed. Use nail scissors and keep your greens tidy. Unlike us, your cocktail plants don’t need a lot of water. Not only does this make a cocktail garden drought-friendly (we’re talking to you, Californians), but it also helps minimize their daily maintenance. When it comes to planting, always make sure to give each herb its own home. Otherwise you’ll have invasive herbs attacking all of your subtler varieties. And finally, splurge on organic potting soil that contains vermiculite or perlite for adequate drainage. It’s really not that expensive, and soil from outside doesn’t work as well indoors.

Are you inspired to make fresh herb cocktails a part of your bar cart rotation? Scroll through to find our favorite plants and some delicious cocktails to go with each!

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