Garden-to-Glass Mixology: A Toast to Mother Nature

By Mallory Ambrose | March 22, 2024


Discover how garden-fresh ingredients are transforming the cocktail scene

In the world of mixology, there’s a burgeoning trend that’s taking cocktail culture by storm: garden-to-glass cocktails. Bartenders all across the globe are taking great care in the production of modern libations, turning to fresh, tasty, garden-sourced ingredients to enhance the flavors of cocktails, resulting in drinks that are not only visually stunning but also bursting with vibrant, natural flavors. The soaring approval amongst consumers has altered the course of mixology, raising imbibers’ expectations.

Garden-to-Glass Philosophy

Garden-to-glass cocktails are more than just a passing trend – they represent a fundamental shift in the way we approach mixology. Gone are the days of relying solely on pre-packaged mixers and artificial flavors. Instead, today’s cocktail aficionados are turning to their own gardens (or local farmers’ markets) to source fresh, seasonal ingredients that add depth, complexity, and a touch of whimsy to their drinks. At its core, the garden-to-glass movement is all about harnessing the natural flavors and aromas of fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create cocktails that are as sustainable as they are sensational. By using herbs, fruits, and vegetables grown in one’s own garden or procured from nearby farms, mixologists can create drinks imbued with a sense of place and seasonality, offering a true reflection of their terroir– the unique environmental factors that influence the taste and character of a region’s produce.

Mint

One of the most popular herbs used in garden-to-glass cocktails is mint. Known for its refreshing and invigorating flavor, mint adds a bright, herbaceous note to drinks like the classic Mojito or the refreshing Mint Julep. For a twist, try incorporating mint into a cucumber-infused mocktail for a cool and revitalizing beverage perfect for warm summer days.

Basil

Basil is an herb that shines in garden-to-glass creations. Its sweet and slightly peppery flavor pairs beautifully with a variety of ingredients, making it a versatile choice for cocktails and mocktails alike. A Basil Smash, featuring muddled basil, gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup, is a crowd-pleaser that showcases the herb’s aromatic qualities. Alternatively, try adding basil to a strawberry and balsamic mocktail for a delightful burst of flavor that will tantalize your taste buds.

Rosemary

Rosemary adds a touch of earthiness and sophistication to a cocktail. Its pine-like aroma complements gin-based drinks exceptionally well, such as the Rosemary Gin Fizz or the Rosemary Citrus Spritz. For a non-alcoholic option, infuse rosemary into a honey lemonade mocktail for a refreshing beverage with an herbal twist.

Thyme

An herb that deserves a place behind the bar, Thyme. With its subtle, savory flavor, thyme can elevate libations with its unique profile. Try adding a sprig of thyme to a vodka-based cocktail like the Thyme Paloma, featuring grapefruit juice and club soda, for a refreshing and herbaceous drink that’s perfect for brunch gatherings.

Ready to experience garden-to-glass cocktails for yourself?

Whether you’re a connoisseur of craft cocktails or simply looking to expand your palate, these establishments have embraced the garden to glass philosophy, offering the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of seed-to-glass creations.

Dusk (The Ritz-Carlton, Naples)

A memorable culinary journey awaits at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples’s Asian-fusion restaurant, Dusk. Featuring thoughtfully prepared menus inspired by the relaxed, refined ambiance of this oceanfront resort, the restaurant celebrates signature flavors and authentic ingredients, responsibly sourced from sustainable farms and fishermen.

A favorite for locals and resort guests, Dusk’s sleek décor complements a menu of freshly prepared small plates and sushi in Naples, FL. Featuring an expansive list of signature garden-to-glass cocktails crafted with fresh. locally derived ingredients, the private terrace is the spot for cocktail connoisseurs.

Floridian Dreams | Photo Courtesy of Dusk, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Heat of the Night | Photo Courtesy of Dusk, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Cannon + Belle (Hilton Austin)

In the heart of downtown Austin, Cannon + Belle’s bar, indoor biergarten, bourbon bar and dynamic kitchen is Austin’s answer to Texas-fresh. The restaurant maintains a tradition of locally sourced, seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients from small Texas farms and serves a flavorful selection of local brews and expertly crafted garden-to-glass cocktails inspired by the flavors of Texas.

The LCL: Bar and Kitchen (The Westin New York Grand Central)

Located on the ground floor of The Westin New York Grand Central, the LCL: Bar & Kitchen is famous for its seasonal menu and commitment to healthy, organic ingredients. The bar offers a unique selection of garden-to-glass cocktails infused with aromatic herbs sourced from the rooftop garden located 384 feet above Manhattan on the Westin’s 41st floor. Managed by Executive Chef and Chief Gardener Brian Wieler, the garden currently grows various herbs and veggies.

Sip on a Swizzled Mojito specially crafted with the bar’s garden-fresh spearmint leaves, rum, lime juice, Angostura Bitters, and simple syrup.

 

Swizzled Mojito | Photo Courtesy of Nico Szymanski, The LCL: Bar and Kitchen

Sazerac Bar and the Fountain Lounge (The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel)

Experience the unique essence of modern garden-to-glass libations at New Orleans’ famous Sazerac Bar and the Fountain Lounge located in The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where bartenders hand craft cocktails using fresh fruit and herbs that are grown and harvested daily from the onsite rooftop garden. Treat yourself to a refreshing Basil Julep crafted with bourbon, basil leaves, lemon juice, and simple syrup, a flavorful showcase of their seed to glass philosophy.

 

Basil Julep | Photo Courtesy of Sazerac Bar, The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Espelette and Rooftop by JG (Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills)

Experience luxury at its finest at Espelette located in the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Created by acclaimed chef Steve Benjamin and the award-winning culinary team of Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, Espelette’s beverage program playfully invokes the spirit of the Mediterranean, drawing on flavors, aromas and nodes meant to transport your senses to the European Coast. Made to share, the seasonally driven menu features farm to table and locally sourced ingredients, highlighting contemporary California flavors and classical techniques. Be sure to take in the stunning panoramic views of Beverly Hills and Hollywood from 12 stories aloft at Rooftop by JG while sipping on handcrafted cocktails like the Strawberry Basil Margarita or Costal Dreams made with fresh herbs and botanicals, sourced locally and from the hotel’s own rooftop garden.

Coastal Dreams | Photo Courtesy of Espelette, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

Strawberry Basil Margarita | Photo Courtesy of Espelette, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

When it comes to garden-to-glass cocktails, the key is to experiment and have fun with fresh herbs. Whether you’re growing them in your backyard garden or picking them up from the farmer’s market, incorporating herbs into your drinks adds a touch of creativity and sophistication that will impress your guests and elevate your mixology skills. So, the next time you’re whipping up cocktails or mocktails, don’t forget to raid your herb garden for fresh inspiration. With a little creativity and a handful of herbs, you can create drinks that are as beautiful as they are delicious, all while embracing the farm-to-table ethos in your glass. Cheers!