pink fruit drink with mint

Extra Herbs and Herb Scraps

Herbs tend to be sold in large quantities at the grocery store, and even small herb gardens can get a little out of control. If you only need a small portion of purchased or home-grown herbs for your culinary escapades, try one of these refreshing springtime cocktails rather than letting the extras go to waste.

Cucumber-Basil Breeze

Gin’s savory undertones pair perfectly with zesty produce ingredients like fresh herbs, cucumber, and citrus. For this recipe, use extra basil from your garden or refrigerator that you won’t use before it spoils. You can also use citrus scraps or overripe citrus for your cocktails to reduce waste even further.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 oz dry gin
  • 2 limes or lemons, halved
  • 4 slices cucumber
  • 2 leaves basil
  • Tonic water

Mix it up:

  1. Place basil leaves in a cocktail shaker with one halved lemon or lime, depending on what you have on hand. Use a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to crush basil leaves and extract the flavorful oils.
  2. Fill the shaker with ice. Add gin, cucumber, and remaining citrus halves. Shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds to combine.
  3. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with tonic water, garnish with a cucumber slice, and enjoy!

Herb Mojito

The classic mojito is made with mint and lime juice, but this tasty warm-weather cocktail lends itself to all kinds of creative adaptation. Give it a try with whatever leafy herbs you happen to have in the fridge, such as basil, cilantro, or parsley. You can also save all those herb stems from cooking and toss them in, too.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 oz light rum
  • A small handful of the herb of your choice (about 15 leaves)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • Club soda

Mix it up:

  1. Begin by roughly chopping your herbs. If you’re using herb scraps or stems, you may want to add a little extra to make sure the flavors are strong enough.
  2. Place chopped herbs and two lime wedges into the bottom of a sturdy cocktail shaker. Using a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon), crush up the herbs and lime to extract all of the tasty oils and juices.
  3. Add two more lime wedges and the sugar and muddle until everything is crushed up and combined.
  4. Fill the shaker with ice and add rum. Shake vigorously for about 5 seconds to combine.
  5. Pour (do not strain) rum mixture into two highball glasses. Add a bit more ice as needed and top with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!

Next, Spring Cocktail Recipes Using: Overripe Berries

By Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.