Here in the South, we don’t just make it from scratch, we grow it from scratch. We plant everything from Heirloom roses for home decor to crisp tomatoes for afternoon cocktails. Whether you’re cooking up an adult beverage or the kid-friendly kind, a cocktail garden will give your signature drink that fresh, summery flavor this Labor Day weekend.

Setting the Scene

No matter what type of garden you’re growing, backyard planting always sprouts new opportunities for outdoor entertaining. For a chic, garden party vibe, plant your cocktail garden in an enclosed bed. Add an adjacent garden table for late summer evenings lounging outdoors. Serve drinks in mason jars to accentuate the garden-to-table vibe. If you need a sprig of greenery to freshen up your drink, you and your guests can simply reach over and pluck it straight from the vine!

Growing Your Greens

If you’re already knee deep in a second crop of summer veggies, your late summer drink menu just got a whole lot bigger. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are key ingredients in some of the most popular party drinks in the South. Cool-season vegetables like carrots make a refreshing addition to fall cocktails. Add herbs to your cocktail garden to give yourself a variety of flavors. Some good options include:

  • Basil
  • Ginger
  • Mint (plant in a separate container – it may overrun the garden!)
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Edible flowers

If it’s too late to plant summer veggies and herbs, create an indoor container garden for cocktail ingredients.

Shaken or Stirred

garden cocktail - watermelon mint beverageHave you ever given up your favorite food? Do you remember what it was like to finally taste it again? The flavor exploded in your mouth, overwhelming your tastebuds with the complex flavors you didn’t normally notice. Creating cocktails from the garden is a similar experience. Once you’ve tasted the complex, sweeping flavors of fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll never go back to store-bought mixes. Play around with your favorite fruits, vegetables, and herbs to create a signature cocktail for your Labor Day party.

Before planting your new crop, stop by Autumn Hill Nursery for seeds, tools, and landscaping advice. Whether you’re entertaining, experimenting, or just relaxing after a long summer, growing your own cocktail garden adds the fresh taste of home to the table. We’ll drink to that!

photo from flickr

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