The Herbal Hour

Being the libationist that I am, the part of Thanksgiving that excites me the most is the cocktail hour.  And while wine and beer are good to have on hand, I love to greet my guests with an herbal cocktail.   

Recommended Thanksgiving wine pairings

Recommended Thanksgiving wine pairings

Herbal cocktails are completely on trend these days and Thanksgiving is the prime time to transfer those traditional herbal flavors from food to drink.  Trust me, whipping up a cocktail is easier than you think and best of all, if you burn the turkey, no one will notice! 

I have an easy herbal syrup recipe that won’t require you to take yet another trip to the market. Just by using a few of the ingredients that you’ve already lined up for your Thanksgiving dinner, you can create an herbal infused syrup for your very own signature cocktail. 

Rum with muddled sage, cherry caraway syrup and balsamic vinaigrette

Rum with muddled sage, cherry caraway syrup and balsamic vinaigrette

Here are a few tips to get you started with using herbs in your home bar…

  1. Herbs can be used in several ways including infused in syrups, bitters and liquors; they can be muddled in cocktails; and herbs are great as a garnish.  
  2. The important thing to remember about making syrup is that herbs should steep in your simple syrup mixture (just equal parts sugar and water) until you reach your desired flavor - this will take up to 30 minutes.  You can use the syrup with anything from cocktails to nonalcoholic drinks (think sparkling water!) and even desserts. As a time saver, make your herbal syrup in advance.  Syrups will last for about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  3. The strength of the flavor of your syrup depends on the herb, so select herbs that are pleasant to your palate.  Common herbs that are paired with cocktails include:
  • Basil
  • Chamomile 
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Lavender Simple Syrup

Infused Cranberry Sage Syrup

Ingredients

1 bag cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1 1/2 c. sugar

15-20 fresh sage leaves

1 c water

Preparation

Puree cranberries and 1/2 cup sugar (or to desired sweetness).  Add cranberry puree, sage, remaining 1 cup sugar and water to a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Turn to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Once the liquid has cooled, strain.  Add desired amount of syrup to bourbon, rye or gin, add ice, shake, pour and garnish with a sage leaf.  Voila! 


Falljito

Another great seasonal cocktail is my falljito. Yup, it’s just like a mojito, but with the flavors of fall front and center. In my video, I walk you through the steps to create this cocktail on your own.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Give my falljito cocktail a try!

Give my falljito cocktail a try!

No matter which cocktail you decide to serve this Thanksgiving, have fun with it!  Don’t forget to tag me in your Thanksgiving cocktail photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @LPLibations! 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

-LP