Perfect Summer Drink – Just For Fun Garden Inventions

By Nikki Tilley | June 16, 2021
by Nikki Tilley
June 16, 2021

I grow many different things in my garden, everything from your average, everyday herbs, veggies and flowers to the more unconventional, like weeds and lesser known herb plants. This means if I wanted to, I could get just as imaginative with herbal concoctions as I am with my plant selections. Inventing the perfect summer drink, for example, could be interesting.

NOTE: The following drinks (and recipes) are not necessarily real. They’re concoctions that I would create, although similar ones could exist. I don’t recommend trying these unless you’re willing to experiment or familiar with such things. I have not yet explored my garden inventions.

Crafting Summer Drinks from My Garden

Taking inspiration from my garden, I would probably use one of my favorite plants as the main ingredient – strawberry. The fruit is not only good for you, but so sweet and tasty that it’s nearly certain to mask whatever less than ideal ingredients I may add with it. After all, I’m a gardener. Not a foodie, chef or bartender.

Because I have so much variety in the garden, I can’t stop at just one perfect summer drink. So I’d have to create other options, keeping the strawberries as the star whenever possible. The first drink I’d create would have to be a cocktail, and perhaps even some garden-style iced tea as well, since there’s nothing better than ending a hot summer day with something cool and refreshing.

Strawberry Rhubarb Mint Champagne

Ingredients used for this fun summer cocktail would include:

  • Strawberries – 1 cup sliced
  • Chocolate mint – 3 sprigs
  • Bottle of Rosé champagne
  • Rhubarb – ¾ cup chopped

I don’t normally drink that often, but when I do, it’s gotta be champagne, and I especially love Rosé. I think this would pair perfectly with strawberries. Though I’ve personally never eaten rhubarb, I grow it in the garden as an ornamental. I hear its sweet-tangy juice works well with strawberry fruit. Mint always adds a fresh herbal flavor to drinks, but for this one I’d pick a chocolatey type simply because chocolate and strawberries are always welcome with champagne, and I have plenty chocolate mint growing in the garden.

Cook chopped rhubarb stalks in water (2 cups) for 20 minutes. Add to this, over low heat, strawberries and a cup of sugar, stirring slowly until the sugar dissolves. Roll mint in hands to release oils and blend into the strawberry/rhubarb mixture. Cool to room temperature, then strain and pour liquid into a pitcher. Pop open the chilled bubbly. Pour 1-2 ounces of the strawberry, rhubarb, mint juice into a cool, frosted glass and top with champagne. Stir and add a strawberry for garnish. Refrigerate leftover juice and use as needed.

Strawberry Hibiscus Rose-Hip Fennel Tea

If you’re not into alcoholic beverages, some refreshing strawberry tea with a twist might tickle your fancy. Garden ingredients for this creation might look something like this:

  • Strawberries – 1 ½ cups sliced
  • Hibiscus flowers – ½ cup dried or 1 cup fresh
  • Rose hips – ¼ cup
  • Peppermint (optional)
  • Bronze fennel seeds – ½ cup

Fresh picked strawberries are always welcome treats for warm summer days, but why not create a tea that can be complemented with some sweet roselle hibiscus, tangy rose hips and the anise-like flavor of fennel herbs. You could even garnish with peppermint if desired.

For this chilled tea, I would boil a pot of water (about 5-6 cups) and pour this over 1 cup sugar, strawberries, hibiscus blooms, rose hips and lightly roasted fennel seeds. Stir until sugar dissolves (could substitute sugar with ¾ cup honey). Let steep for 15 minutes. Strain the tea into a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to use. Pour in a glass over ice. Top with peppermint or strawberry garnish.

Cucumber Strawberry Smoothie

There are a number of fruits, vegetables and herbs that can be added to water for a much needed detox. So if a good cleanse is needed for that healthy summer glow, my go-to garden inventions would include:

Add all ingredients to a pitcher with 12 ounces of water. Let sit overnight. Pour over ice and enjoy (or try to anyway – who knows what it might taste like)!

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