Get green fingered and grow your own garnish

Garnishes are central to any drinks menu, especially when serving cocktails or mocktails. But could you save money by growing them in-house? We go green and take a look at how a garnish garden could have beneficial impacts on your business.

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The rise in popularity of gin in recent years has been driven by a surge in varieties of botanical flavours. These have reinvigorated the classic G&T as well as introducing a new generation of gin connoisseurs across the UK. Flavoured gins or tonics complement beautifully with fresh herbs, as well as elevating the visual appeal of a serve. On top of this, a little greenery can be a cost-effective way to freshen up the look and feel of a pub or bar. So, why not start growing your own herbs to use within your drink creations?

Rosemary: A charming and fragrant garnish on its own, a rosemary syrup can also add a herbal kick to vodka-based cocktails. Suitable for growing indoors, it’s a strong-looking herb to place around the bar.

Mint: A staple of the Mojito, mint plays well with tropical rum serves as well as adding a refreshing note to a long drink. There are numerous flavours to explore, whilst it’s also a fast grower so consider planting in individual pots outside if you have the space.

Basil: Providing a sweet-spicy flavour that is perfectly suited to gin or vodka, or even as a balancer to sweet tropical serves, basil is an easy-growing plant that will have multiple uses in the kitchen as well.

Thyme: This perennial herb has an earthy, citrussy fragrance that can be utilised within vodka and gin cocktails. Again, there are different types to consider, including orange and lemon scented. Ideal for growing outdoors if you have the space.

Sage: Whilst not the prettiest herb to use within a cocktail, it’s earthy flavour combines nicely with bourbons and gin.

Lavender: Its standout purple flowers make a stunning garnish for most drinks, whilst its buds can be made into simple syrups, which are perfect to add to lemonade for a non-alcoholic refresher. Combines as a colourful, summery decoration.

Where should I grow these?

If you have the space, an outside garnish garden can be a wonderful way to add a little atmosphere and theatre to your al fresco dining or drinking area.

You can repurpose an upturned wooden crate or use pots or a border to plant herbs in, using multi-purpose compost. Be mindful to locate the herbs where they will receive plenty of sunshine and they will need lots of water to grow. If growing outside, wait until the spring to get started and use young plants rather than seeds to ensure you can pick the flavours and aromas required for your needs.

An outside herb garden will create a pleasant aroma for your customers, as well as much appreciated by the local bees. You can then transfer some of the plants to smaller pots for use as decoration throughout your establishment.

Growing inside in smaller pots is possible for most herbs and is an easy way to add a little colour to your bar. Again, check they have plenty of natural light and water. Most herbs are strong growers so your customers will be enjoying the sights and smells of your indoor garnish garden in no time.

Make some noise for the herbs

Shouting about home-grown herbs is the perfect way to showcase the fresh ingredients used within your drinks, and to give you a point of difference. With sustainability on the mind of many consumers, it also demonstrates your green credentials and will overtime save you money on purchasing herbs.

So, if you’re looking to revitalise your drinks menu and brighten up your pub, bar or restaurant, a herb garden can be a simple and affordable two-in-one way to bring a new element to your business. Get your gardening gloves at the ready and be safe in the knowledge you can enjoy a refreshing, fragrant drink at the end of a hard day’s work.