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Culinary & Cocktail Herbs - Where to Find/What to Make?

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I was reading a CHOW article on growing herbs for cocktails & want to solicit ideas both for sources and tasty combinations.

Where have you found good herbs to grown at home - nurseries, farmer's markets, etc?

What cocktails have you infused with your greenery? What worked well, what didn't?

I did a simple mix of rosemary and mint with vodka & fruit juices (passion fruit & cranberry) and it was delicious.

I got most of my herbs from Home Depot, but want to find harder to locate ones like culinary lavender, shiso, lemon verbena, et al. (Prefer not to start from seed.)

Article link here: http://www.chow.com/stories/12109/

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  1. We buy nearly all of our culinary herbs from Baker Nursery (40th St, just north of Osborn in Phoenix). They usually have a pretty good selection; though, the variety at any given time depends on what kind of weather their suppliers are having.

    What we don't buy at Baker, we buy from the Dos Arbolitos guys at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market. Dos Arbolitos is also one of Baker's main suppliers of organically grown herb and vegetable plants, so if you can't make it to the Saturday market, you won't be totally out of luck, as some of their selections can be found at the nursery during the rest of the week.

    I don't know that I've seen anyone selling shiso plants around town, but I confess that I haven't looked that hard for them. Rosemary, mint, lemon verbena, and culinary lavender, however, should be relatively easy to find.

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    Downtown Phoenix Public Market
    721 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004

    5 Replies
    1. re: hohokam

      Great, haven't been to Baker for some time. Will check them out.

      I know as it gets hotter, some things get more difficult to sustain. Perhaps shiso won't do well here in summer anyway. I will need to do more research.

      Thanks!

      1. re: scaheld

        You're welcome.

        Sorry I don't have any interesting suggestions for herbal concoctions. For the past couple of years we have been in the grip of my partner's mojito-a-day habit, so we just use mint, mint, and more mint.

        In the Bay Area, I've had some interesting cocktails featuring lightly muddled basil, but I've yet to try my own hand at making such things.

        1. re: hohokam

          I'm trying to grow more herbs, but I have the worst green fingers.

          Rosemary seems easy to grow here, any other suggestions of easy to grow herbs. So far I've managed to not wither some rosemary, mint and basil. Thyme should be easy?

          I wish grocery stores would do pick and mix herbs by weight. The markup on those little packs of herbs must be insane.

          1. re: Mattoclock

            This thread from last year has some good tips on growing herbs in the low desert:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/611882

            1. re: hohokam

              Many thanks. I missed those replies before maybe when the thread was split :)

    2. Since rosemary grows so well here (I bought the 'bush' below in a 12-inch container at Home Depot about 18 months ago), I've been experimenting with cocktails using a rosemary simple syrup. A favorite so far was when grapefruit was in season: Gin + fresh squeezed grapefruit juice + simple syrup.

       
       
      1 Reply
      1. re: Rubee

        That's sounds great. I have some freshly squeezed grapefruit jiuce in the fridge right now! And there's never a shortage of gin in the house ;-)

        I hit Baker's today and picked up Lemon Verbena, Greek Basil, Lavender and Apple Mint!

      2. As far as herbs go, I grow basil, tarragon, thyme, and lemon balm. The basil I grew from seed (Seed Savers Exchange), the rest, from transplants. I don't remember where I got the tarragon, but the thyme came from a now defunct nursery, and the lemon balm were cuttings from a friend's plant.

        I used the lemon balm in my last batch of limoncello, and it turned out just lovely. The basil I like in a basil & rye:
        http://www.chow.com/recipes/13435-bas...

        I would like to get some borage and lemon verbena to add to the garden.

        2 Replies
        1. re: grrlscout

          Baker's Nursery had borage and lemon verbena when I went last weekend.

          1. re: scaheld

            Thanks for the tip! If I find myself over that way, I'll certainly pick some up.

        2. Basil Strawberry Martini - I had it at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas yumm!

          I made it with lemon juice (and again with lime) muddled strawberries (frozen in winter) and basil and simple syrup. Just guessed on ratios.

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          Four Seasons
          , Gilbert, AZ 85233