When it’s time to get going on your herb garden, take a cue from Arlington, Texas, native Amy Stewart, author of the best-selling book The Drunken Botanist, and make room for herbs that will add depth to your favorite cocktails. “Herbs pair well with everything—rum or vodka or gin,” Stewart says. “But add herbs to whiskey and it becomes even more complex and interesting.”
According to Stewart three herbs partner especially well with bourbon: mint (of course), French tarragon, and anise hyssop (a lesser known mint cousin that’s readily available at most garden stores). “Mint adds a slight sweetness and a floral flavor to whiskey that is aged in oak,” she says. “Tarragon brings a spicy, savory element and some licorice. Anise hyssop also has licorice notes and this wonderful pineapple note.” Try them alone as a garnish or muddled into a drink. Or brew an herbal simple syrup. Not only will it spice up a bourbon cocktail, such as this bright riff on the old-fashioned, but it also helps keep your plants trim and under control.