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5 Summertime Cocktails That Use Fresh, Local Ingredients

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Raid your garden or farmers’ market for local ingredients to add to these creative cocktails.

I can’t help but notice that the farm-to-table trend that has dominated restaurants over the past few years is now extending to my favorite watering holes as well. Locally grown berries, herbs plucked from the restaurant’s own garden, cucumbers from the farmer’s market, are among the ingredients appearing in cocktail menus here and across the country. My local farmers’ market in Atlanta even had a cocktail contest featuring our most popular crop: peaches.

Whether you have a small garden, a windowsill herb garden, or just access to locally grown produce from a farmers’ market, you can participate in the farm-to-bar trend too! By sourcing your cocktail ingredients from as close as you can get (and what’s closer than your backyard garden?), you’re reducing the impact of your food on the environment.

Here are a few of my favorite options:


  1. Daytripper
    Holeman & Finch Public House has some of the most creative cocktails here in Atlanta. The bartenders, Sara Justice and Casey Teague, were nice enough to share their recipe for this sweet and tangy cocktail, as well as their recipe for berry simple syrup, below.
  • 1 oz. Lovell Bros. Georgia our Mash
  • 1 oz. Lovell Bros. Apple Brandy
  • .75 oz. berry simple syrup (see recipe, below)
  • .75 oz. fresh lemon luice
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 1 dash absinthe

Combine the ingredients in a shaker, shake, and serve up in a glass.


  1. The Marine Layer
    When my friends Adam and Kelley got married, their whole wedding had a local, farm-to-table feel, from the whole roast pork that started cooking the day before the festivities, to the berry pies that Kelley and her friends baked in lieu of wedding cake. Adam, a bartender, created this drink in honor of the day, using the mint that was threatening to take over his herb garden.
  • 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 4 oz. fresh watermelon juice (strained, no pulp)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. mint-infused simple syrup

Combine the ingredients in a shaker and serve up in a glass with a mint leaf garnish.


  1. Cucumber, Basil and Lime Gimlet
    Savory herbs and vegetables are unusual in cocktails but are actually quite refreshing in the summer. This cucumber, basil and lime gimlet is a great way to make use of a bumper crop of cukes.


  1. Tomate Fresca
    Tomatoes proliferate in gardens this time of year. If you’re lucky enough to have more than you know what to do with, get creative with them. Bon Appetit magazine has put together an amazing list of eight tomato cocktail recipes, including the tomate fresca, which uses yellow grape tomatoes, although any cherry or grape tomato variety can be substituted.


  1. Infused Waters and Flavored Lemonades
    Kids and teetotalers can enjoy locally grown ingredients in their drinks, too. Try muddling some basil or mint leaves and adding them to freshly squeezed lemonade. Make the berry simple syrup below (or try it instead with peaches) and add a splash to unflavored seltzer water. Or add a handful of herbs or a few slices of cucumbers, watermelon, peach, or berries, to a pitcher of water and let it sit for a few minutes to infuse.

Bonus Recipe: Berry Simple Syrup from Sara Justice at Holeman & Finch Public House

Use this simple syrup recipe in the Daytripper, above, or to add flavor to any sweet cocktail, such as mojitos, daiquiris, or cosmopolitans.

  1. Measure your choice of berries (by weight if possible) and add twice the amount of granulated sugar(for example, 5 oz. of raspberries to 10 oz. of sugar.
  2. Muddle the fruit until you see the juices start to release into the sugar.
  3. Cover and store overnight at room temperature. Stir and muddle again after 24 hours, then add equal parts room temperature water to sugar (for example, 10 oz. sugar to 10 oz. water.) Stir again to dissolve all of the sugar.
  4. Strain and store in a lidded bottle or jar in the refrigerated. This syrup has a 1 month shelf.

What are your favorite cocktails or beverages made with bounty from your garden? Share them in the comments below!

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About the Author
Jessica Harlan
Jessica Harlan
I love finding new ways to green my family's life as painlessly as possible, and sharing those ideas with folks who want to do the same. more