Start 2019 Healthy-ish By Growing Your Own Cocktail Ingredients
Photo: Alejandro Photography (Getty Images)
By now, you’ve probably already given up on your New Year’s resolutions. That’s probably a good thing because attempting to keep up with everyone at SoulCycle any longer will probably just embarrass you in the long run. Well, even though you decided you prefer carbs more than abs and vodka more than water, that shouldn’t stop you from making tiny changes to your life in an attempt to make yourself at least a little healthier in 2019.
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One great way to feel like you’re making an effort in 2019 is by growing your own cocktail ingredients. Plus, you can use them in cooking, so that’s pretty cool, too.
Way to Grow
The easiest herbs to grow at home are quick-growing varieties like basil and mint, which will flourish when given light, water, and a little love. “You can start these in a small pot by buying a live plant from your grocery store, or plant seeds in a simple hydroponic system,” said Rob Laing, CEO at Farm.One. “Once you’ve had some luck with these you can move on to slower-growing plants like rosemary and sage.”
If you’re already someone who enjoys making cocktails at home like mojitos or mint juleps, it’s a good idea to have mint or basil on hand at all times. Instead of wasting your hard-earned money to buy these herbs every week, why not just grow them at home?
“The easiest first steps are to choose a garnish or two that you love and get yourself set up at home: a basic pot with soil to grow it in or a handy hydro pod,” says Pam Wiznitzer, mixologist at the Henry at the Life Hotel in New York City. “See how well you can manage and take care of that one plant and from there you can start to add other ones. It doesn’t take too much time or extreme effort.”
Expand Your Repertoire
Start with flavors you know, such as basil, which has dozens of varieties, like the dark purple-colored type used in many cocktails. “It’s fun to grow basil at home since basil flowers are beautiful and highly scented, making a perfect cocktail addition to your Ketel Soda,” says Laing.
Herbs like mint, basil, rosemary, sage, and more can be grown in the comfort of your own home. “And try some more exotic varietals once you’ve conquered the basics,” says Wiznitzer.
Make the Freshest Cocktails
“Aromatic garnishes work best in cocktails where there are just a few ingredients, so that they can shine. Even a simple Ketel One Vodka and Soda or a martini can be brightened up with a lemon basil or other aromatic herb,” says Laing. Almost any cocktail looks better with a bright flower like a viola or begonia in it. “When you have darker, more intense flavors in a drink, it requires a steadier hand to find a herb that will add something without getting too complex — but it can be done.”
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Various herbs can work well in all different types of cocktails. “Shaken drinks get a lot more use of the herb because the aromas and oils from the ingredient really mix nicely when agitated in a shaker with ice,” says Wiznitzer. “Try a Ketel Soda garnished with some fresh thyme and slice of grapefruit or a small handful of cranberries and sprig of rosemary. Or bring out your inner mixologist with Ketel One Vodka’s Garden of Green.”
Ketel One Vodka’s Garden of Green
- 1 1/2 ounces Ketel One Family-Made Vodka
- 5 leaves apple mint
- 1/2 ounce snap pea reduction*
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- Splash of soda water
- Small handful micro mizuna
Tear apple mint leaves and throw in a canning jar. Add all ingredients except the soda water and ice and cap the jar. Shake vigorously. Open and top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with micro mizuna and serve directly from canning jar. *Either juice the peas or blend with water and then fine strain.