A cocktail wonder straight out of your own garden, the sparkling borage cocktail is a delight to sip throughout the summer months. The feature of this gin recipe is the lovely borage herb and its edible flowers, which are used to create a syrup and frozen into elegant ice cubes.
Borage is an annual herb that self-seeds, making it a relatively care-free plant to grow. For gardeners, it's a favorite companion to vegetables as it attracts pollinators and it's fabulous in wildflower gardens. Its stunning star-shaped blue flowers are the real attraction. Both the flowers and young leaves taste like cucumber.
In the sparkling borage cocktail, a homemade borage syrup is paired with other light herbal flavors, including elderflower and juniper. For the gin, upgrade to one of the new craft gins that have a softer profile like Leopold's American Small Batch Gin or The Botanist. These produce a lovely and delicate cocktail that cannot be created with a traditional London dry gin.
- For Borage Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar (white granulated)
- 1/2 cup borage (young leaves and flowers)
- For Borage Flower Ice Cubes:
- 10 to 12 borage flowers
- 1 cup water (distilled)
- For the Cocktail:
- 1 1/2 ounces premium gin
- 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur (St. Germain)
- 1/2 ounce borage simple syrup
- Splash lime juice (fresh)
- Splash club soda
- Garnish: borage flower ice cubes
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cocktail is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.
Make the Borage Simple Syrup
Borage is a fabulous cocktail ingredient because of its delicate cucumber-like flavor. It is even the traditional garnish for a Pimm's Cup and has seen a resurgence in recent years. One of the easiest ways to bring it into drinks is through a homemade simple syrup.
For the syrup, choose young leaves and flowers. As the plant ages, the leaves become prickly. Not only are they not much fun to handle, but they also begin to lose the desired flavor. The syrup itself is as easy as making any other simple syrup, you're simply adding the herb for flavor.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.
Over medium heat, stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and bring to a slow boil.
Add 1/2 cup borage leaves and flowers and stir.
Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to steep for at least one hour.
Strain the borage from the syrup using a fine mesh strainer.
Bottle and refrigerate. It will be good for two weeks or more.
Make the Borage Flower Ice Cubes
Save your best borage flowers for the ice cubes. The flowers begin pink and develop a stunning blue-purple color as they mature. They look fabulous in this otherwise clear cocktail.
Making the floral ice is a two-step process because you'll give the flower a frozen foundation to rest on before filling the cube. You will just need to leave yourself enough time—a little over one day—to let them freeze completely.
This can be done with other edible flowers like pansies as well. Always be sure that your flowers are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers and actually safe to be eaten. Growing your own ensures that, though organic edible flowers may be found at some farmers markets and other outlets.
Fill ice cube trays halfway with distilled water and freeze.
Place a single borage flower on each cube.
Fill cubes the rest of the way with water and freeze.
Make the Sparkling Borage Cocktail
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the gin, St. Germain, borage syrup, and lime juice.
Add borage flower ice cubes and top with club soda.
Serve and enjoy!
- Rather than the club soda, you can use a similar lightly flavored soda or sparkling water. It's fantastic with Dry Sparkling's Lavender Soda; try other floral and herbal sodas as well. You could even add a splash of sparkling rosé wine.
- Use the borage syrup in similar lightly flavored cocktails and drinks. It adds a refreshing touch to the gin rickey and brings new life to a tall glass of lemonade.
How Strong Is the Sparkling Borage Cocktail?