1 Year of Cigar Aficionado for $10 PLUS a Free Gift!

The Good Life

Three Herbal Cocktails to Beat the Heat

By Jack Bettridge | From Charles Barkley, March/April 2020
Three Herbal Cocktails to Beat the Heat
Photo/Jeff Harris

After a winter of fighting the cold with nogs and toddies, sprightly herbal cocktails can be a more welcoming harbinger of spring than robin red breast or the crack of horsehide against a Louisville Slugger.

Long before fruits ripen, nature gives up its herbs to resourceful mixologists to experiment with. Herbal flavors offer possibilities from tarragon’s bittersweet mix to the sharp aromatics of onions to the cooling spiciness of menthol. Here are few favorites to get you started.

Tarragon Gin & Tonic

Tarragon is one of the first gifts of spring. It’s the herb that brings beguiling notes of anise and basil to béarnaise and white-wine sauces. It’s also touted as an herbal remedy for stomach problems. So why not use it in a G&T, a homeopathic mélange containing quinine water and a complex, aromatic spirit. You could muddle the tarragon leaves, but this recipe involves making a simple syrup.

  • 1 cup tarragon leaves sugar
  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz tonic water
  • seltzer water
  • squeeze of lime, plus lime for garnish

Make tarragon syrup
Heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add a cup of tarragon and let boil for 2-3 minutes. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Make cocktail
Place 1 tablespoon syrup, lime juice and gin in large highball glass. Stir. Add ice and tonic water. Stir again. Top with seltzer and a wedge (or slice) of lime.

Spring Onion Martini

The Gibson (a Martini with a cocktail onion garnish) has long been the standard method to get that pungent bulb in drinks, but its overall effect is weak compared with using an onion-informed vodka. Many species of small, spring onions are available for this quick and easy infusion. You can even enlist onion grass from your lawn, putting good use to a weed.

  • one 750-milliliter bottle vodka
  • 1 pound spring onions
  • 2 oz spring onion-infused vodka
  • 1 oz dry vermouth cocktail onion garnish

Twelve hours ahead, place spring onions in vodka bottle. Strain. Combine 2 oz infused vodka and 1 oz vermouth in shaker with ice, stir or shake. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail onion.


Mint is another early riser in the spring herb world, which is part of the reason the Mint Julep became synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, which runs in early May. But Bourbon whiskey isn’t the only friend of mentha spicata. Rum lovers can enjoy this easy-to-grow plant in a Mojito, a refreshing drink that adds lime to the mix.

  • 1.5 oz fresh lime juice 
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 3 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 oz white rum
  • seltzer
  • lime wedges or slices

Muddle the lime juice with sugar and mint leaves along with a splash of rum in a double Old Fashioned glass. Add ice and rum. Top with seltzer and stir. Garnish.


More in The Good Life

See all
CBS Sunday Morning Thanks Cigar Aficionado

CBS Sunday Morning Thanks Cigar Aficionado

The September 6 broadcast of the hit television show “CBS Sunday Morning” closed with host Jane …

Sep 8, 2020
Complete Michael Jordan Video Interview to Debut July 30 at 7 p.m.

Complete Michael Jordan Video Interview to Debut July 30 at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, July 30 at 7 p.m., we will be posting on CigarAficionado.com a special, uncut version of …

Jul 23, 2020
Countdown to Ecstasy

Countdown to Ecstasy

At the 2019 Big Smoke Las Vegas last November, Doug Halcomb and his Cigar Raiders crew were on a …

Jul 10, 2020
Tiki Drinks

Tiki Drinks

Tiki drinks encourage us to have fun with our cocktails and not worry about mixing a proper this or a …

Jun 30, 2020
The Most Luxurious Golf Course in Las Vegas

The Most Luxurious Golf Course in Las Vegas

When it comes to the most luxurious round of golf in Vegas, it is undoubtedly the relatively new …

Jun 19, 2020
Cigar Aficionado’s 2020 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Cigar Aficionado’s 2020 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Buying dad the perfect gift for Father’s Day is a breeze if you know what he wants. To help shop for …

Jun 9, 2020