Herbal Refreshment

Herbs have had a long traditional use in cooking and drink making. Familiar as we all are with their use in cooking, from Oregano and Basil in Italian dishes to the more arcane use of Curry in Indian and Thai foods. However, drink making goes back just as far and is pitifully not as well known. Herbal beers and wines were the first buzz of early men, drinking Metheglin from a large bowl floating with fresh hops. And most of it is super yummy, even if you’ve never heard of it, even if it doesn’t come in a can. Here are some of my favorite recipes for alcoholic drinks. Look for future blog entries for recipes for non alcoholic mixes and other great goodies.



You need:

1/2 Cup of Water, 4 Tbsp chopped Mint leaves, 2 Tbsp Sugar, Juice of one Lemon, 1 Cup Club Soda, 1/2 cup of Whiskey & Mint sprigs. — makes 9 oz-

10-Minute Instructions:

1. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the Mint leaves
2. Stir in the Sugar until it dissolves
3. Allow to cool before adding the Lemon Juice
4. Strain the Mint leaves out
5. Add the Whiskey and Club Soda just before serving
6. Decorate each glass with a Mint sprigs


You need:

2 Lemons, 3 1/2 cups of Water, 6 sprigs of Lemon Balm, 1/2 bottle of Dessert Wine, 6 sprigs & flowers of Borage or Vipers’ Bugloss, 1/2 cup Brandy, 1/2 cup Sugar & 1 bottle Champagne or Sparkling Dry White Wine

1-Hour Instructions:

1. Put Borage Flowers into ice cube trays with water and freeze
2. Remove the zest from one of the Lemons
3. Peel the remaining Lemon and slice both of them into slivers
4. Put the Lemon Balm, Borage sprigs, Lemon slices, Lemon zest and Sugar into a large jug or pitcher
5. Stir in the 3 1/2 cups of Water, the Dessert Wine and the Brandy.
6. Cover and chill for one hour.
7. Chill the Champagne and mix in just before serving.
8. Decorate with the Borage flower ice cubes


You need:

4 cups Brandy, Vodka, Kirsch or White Eau De Vie; 8oz Clove Pink petals; 8oz Orange Blossoms -or- 3oz Dried Orange Blossoms; 1 Cinnamon Stick & 2 Cloves; 8oz Sweet Violet flowers; 8oz Rose Petals, with heels removed & Sugar to taste. — makes 32 ounces–

1-Month Instructions:

1. Put the Alcohol, Spices and Flowers in a large glass container or bottle
2. Cork and place in a sunny window for 1 month
3. Filter through coffee filters
4. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved
4. Can be served immediately or bottled in strong glass or pottery for keeping.


You need:

1 bottle of Dry White Wine, 5 thin Orange slices or 5 Strawberries, 12 sprigs of Woodruff & 1 Tsp white Sugar. –serves 4–

1 Hour Instructions:

1. Put all the ingredients in a jug and leave for 1 hour
2. Strain and serve chilled- keep cold by submerging the pitcher or jug in crushed ice
3. Serve in 4oz Wine glasses with an Orange slice or a Strawberry


You need:

5 quarts of Water, 3 1/2 cups of Sugar, Juice and thinly peeled rind of 1 Lemon, 2 Tbsp Cider or Wine Vinegar, AND 12 Elderflower Heads (preferably fresh. — makes about 5 Quarts–

2-Week Instructions:

1. Bring the water to a boil
2. Pour into a sterilized glass container
3. Add the Sugar and stir until dissolved
4. When cool, add the juice and rind of Lemon, Vinegar and Elderflowers5. Cover with layers of cheesecloth and leave for 24 hours
6. Filter through cheesecloth into glass or ceramic bottles or jugs
7. Let the mixture age for 2 weeks and then serve very cold


You need:

6 cooking Apples, 2 1/4 pints of strong Ale (pick a favorite brand, 1 tsp ground Ginger, 1/4 tsp grated Nutmeg & Brown Sugar (to taste. — serves 4–

30 Minute Instructions:

1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees
2. Roast the Apples until they are soft and pulpy
3. Heat the Ale in a pot on low heat
4. Peel and core the Apples and add them to the Ale
5. Stir in the Spices and Sugar to taste and serve very hot

These are just a few alcoholic recipes that include herbs. I have many more, some of which date back to Medieval times. I will post more of them in future along with recipes for health-promoting drinks and non alcoholic cocktails.

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