From Planters to the Cocktail Shaker

Just because we're located in the heart of Temecula's wine country doesn't mean we don't also enjoy the occasional cocktail. While wine can combine a host of flavors in a single complex glass, cocktails give the creative mixologist the opportunity to blend literally all kinds of flavors.

Since we also grow a host of herbs, however, we're especially interested in drinks that feature them. Of course, if you're growing your own herbs from indoor or garden planters, either those you made yourself or purchased from a website such as, mixed drinks and cocktails also give you a chance to show off your herbal gardening skills. It's actually a little bit amazing how often relatively small amounts of herbs can make the difference between a ho-hum drink and something really amazing.

1. Mint is one of the most popular of herbs and one of the most common ingredients in all of cocktaildom. Fresh mint is a key ingredient in one of the oldest concoctions we know, the Mint Julep. The drink has a lineage that goes back as far as the 19th century and perhaps quite a bit further to well before before the American Civil War. The julep also is the basis of a number of more contemporary drinks including the currently very popular Mojito, which originally comes to us from the island of Cuba but now can be found in just about any bar you're likely to enter. Fresh mint from garden planters or a local grower will taste best, but the supermarket stuff will also do in a pinch.

2. Cilantro is a spice many of us associate with Asian and Latin cooking, but it has been used in a host of cutting edge cocktails. The popular, yet controversial, spice has turned in variations on such cocktail classics as the Martin, the Gimlet, and -- you guessed it the Margarita.

3. If you want any proof that just about any herb you can grow in planters can reasonably turn up in a cocktail, look no further than savory sage. The Smokey Scotsman combines sages, lemon, Scotch and absolutely no sweetener to make a truly memorable libation.

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Maier Ranch, Vineyards & Groves.

P.O. Box 891203
California, 92589

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