How to grow your own cocktail ingredients at home

Step up your evening G&T with some homegrown herbs (Picture:

Is there anything more rewarding than a refreshing, thirst quenching cocktail as you watch the sun go down?

Well actually there is — a cocktail infused with fruit, herbs and garnishes you’ve grown yourself.

Cocktails at home became a huge hit over the pandemic. And there’s nothing quite as satisfying as offering your guests drinks that look as good as they taste.

‘Growing your own cocktail garden is easy — and great fun,’ says Sarah Squire, chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres.

‘You can grow most fruit and herbs in flower beds or containers — and some will even grow in a window box if you don’t have any outdoor space.’


Strawberry plant with berries in small pot isolated on white. Concept of huge harvest.

Use in a strawberry daquiri or a classic Pimms (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

Strawberries are versatile and can be grown in the ground, in containers and even in hanging baskets — but they thrive best in well-drained soil in a sunny spot sheltered from strong winds.

For fast results, buy a young plant — and keep it next to borage to attract beneficial insects and pollinators to improve the flavour and growth of the berries.

It will produce fruit from summer to early autumn — pick when fully ripe and red and at the warmest part of the day to ensure the best taste. Water the roots regularly when plants are young, but avoid drenching the fruit and foliage as this can lead to rot. When the fruits start to appear, keep them off the soil.

Traditionally this was done by placing a mat of straw underneath the plant (hence the name!).


Thyme in a terracotta pot on white background

Thyme is a fab addition to a lemon cocktail (Picture: Getty Images/Image Source)

Thyme is great for attracting wildlife with its aromatic foliage and pretty flowers, which bloom from May onwards.

Can be grown indoors on a windowsill, but is better outside in a pot or directly in the soil. It also works great as a flowerbed edging as the aroma helps keep snails away.

Likes a warm, sunny spot in well-drained soil. Leaves can be harvested all year, but the soft new growth in summer has the best flavour, especially for cocktails.

Pinch out leaves before flowering to promote bushy growth. And don’t overwater.


Push the boat out with a dill cocktail (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

Dill blooms with sprays of yellow flowers from July to September and can reach 1.2m, so are great for growing in the middle of a border or container — support with canes.

Needs moist, well-drained alkaline soil. Can be sown from seed or bought as a young plant for faster results. Cut and use the feathery, tender foliage continually from spring through to summer.

Water regularly, and don’t allow the soil to dry out. You can freeze dill or steep in vinegar or oil to preserve its flavour.


Popular herb basil will add to almost any cocktail (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

The aroma of freshly picked basil can make a cocktail sing — and this versatile herb can be grown either indoors, in a window box, garden container or directly in the soil.

Plant outside only after the danger of frost has passed, and in a sunny spot out of the wind. Can also be sown from seed in early spring — but snails love it (plant next to scented thyme to discourage them).

This herb’s aroma and taste is strongest just before it flowers in July, but leaves can be picked well into the autumn.

Move to a slightly bigger pot each time its roots show through the container’s drainage holes and it will keep going all summer.


Enhance a G&T with rosemary (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

As well as looking, smelling and tasting fabulous in cocktails, rosemary also makes a great border to a path in your garden. It can be planted directly in the soil or in a container.

This sun-loving shrub likes a warm spot with free-draining soil. You can pick its needle-like leaves all year round for cooking, but the soft, new growth in summer has the best flavour.

And if you plant it with thyme and sage, you’ll have all the herbs you need to make stuffing for your Sunday roast! Water in the heat of summer, then sparingly from autumn onwards.


Cucmbers add a fresh twist to loads of drinks (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)

There is nothing like the taste of home-grown cucumber, which can be grown in pots or directly in the soil. Start from seed or young plants for quicker results.

Grow indoors in a greenhouse from March to May and outdoor varieties (known as ridge cucumbers) from June onwards in a warm, sheltered spot, ideally under fleece or cloches.

Train the main stem of the cucumber vines up a trellis — or sunflowers can act as a natural trellis for them to climb up.

Plant next to dill to attract pollinators and keep garden pest levels down. Water little and often to keep the soil evenly moist and feed every two weeks with a high nitrogen liquid feed.

Harvest from July to October when the fruits are uniformly green and firm — regular harvesting encourages further fruiting.

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