Garden Cocktail: balanced and bright green juice with honeysuckle simple syrup and gin.
I was driving the other day and saw honeysuckle growing on the side of the road. I did a double take and texted my parents to see if they had it growing on their property yet. Since they live up a mountain, plants grow about a week later than the rest of the county. Sometimes growing up, it would snow a foot at our house, and a friend in the neighborhood 10 minutes away would get nothing. It was weird because no one would believe us when we said we were snowed in... I drove over to steal their forrest goodies and made what has become one of our favorite warm weather things to add to drinks: honeysuckle simple syrup (here's our recipe from 2014).
Since I had purchased some kale on sale at the farmers market that weekend (sale kale, I'll take it), I needed to use it up. For me, when I have greens that need to be used, they usually take smoothie or juice form. In fact, this green juice has had many lives over this blog. A few months ago we added spirulina and meyer lemons for a twist. But now it's time to make it boozy and summery.
Here's the deal with honeysuckle: it grows in many places across the US. I always see it near the edges of the woods or high brush. But if you don't have it near you or on someone's property you know (or stopping roadside is just too much for you), you can swap out the honeysuckle simple syrup with elderflower liqueur. St. Germain is probably the most popular variety you'll find. It has similar floral/honey qualities in my opinion and it will work just fine. You just won't have the garnishing capabilities of honeysuckle.
Oh and one more thing... if you are sourcing your honeysuckle road side, please think twice if you live in a locality that sprays weed control on that road or it's a highway (Cocktail with a side of car dust and exhaust? Pass.). Road side honeysuckle needs to happen on a back road.
Honeysuckle Garden Green Juice Cocktail
makes enough green juice for 4 cocktails, makes extra honeysuckle syrup
/// Ingredients ///
- 3 english cucumbers (if using standard cucumbers, peel)
- 1 lemon, peeled
- 1 1/2 green apples, chopped
- 1 large handful fresh mint
- 2 cups packed kale leaves
- 2 cups water
- crushed ice
- honeysuckle simple syrup (3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cups water, 1 cup blossoms) Note: can be swapped for elderflower liqueur if no honeysuckle is available
- gin of choice
/// Directions //
To make juice, add ingredients to a high powered blender (we use a Vitamix). Blend until all chunks are removed (1-2 minutes depending on blender). Use a nut milk bag or cheese cloth and strain out solids. To get extra clear juice, let juice sit on the counter for 5 minutes and syphon off the top as the extra fibers settle to the bottom of the container.
To make honeysuckle simple syrup, harvest several large stems of honeysuckle. Pick off flowers. Add sugar and water to a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil, simmer for 3 minutes. Add flowers to pan, stir and allow to cool. Strain off flowers and discard. Keep in fridge up to a week or so. If you're making a large batch of juice for several cocktails, you could absolutely add the syrup straight to the juice to use immediately or that evening.
To make cocktail, Add crushed ice into a glass. Pour a shot of gin, about a 1/2 cup of green juice and 2 teaspoons of syrup into the glass. Stir to combine. Adjust taste if desired (more green juice, less sugar...more gin...whatever you want). Garnish with extra mint or honeysuckle.
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.