Bourbon, Cocktail, lemon, Orange, Waste Not Want Not

And now for something a little different…


Let’s talk cocktails. Now, most of my recipes on this blog are going to be sweet confections and baked goods, but I’m a sucker for a good cocktail and a well-stocked home bar. I also hate wasting ingredients which is where the idea for this post originated: throwing away herbs.

If you’re like me, you will occasionally purchase a package of herbs in order to make a recipe that will undoubtedly only use a small portion of them. My rosemary and thyme chicken is one of my favorite go-to dinners. By the time I make it again, though, the herbs have wasted away, their flavorful life force succumbing to the ravages of time and neglect.

But no more!

I have two great uses for left over herbs: My Rustic No-Knead Bread becomes savory and delicious with the addition of rosemary, thyme, chives, garlic, or any or all of the above.

But if I don’t want to take the time to make bread, I’ll turn herbs and citrus fruit into a delightful Homemade Sours Mix for my bar. The addition of herbs to a sours mix adds a certain sophistication to your cocktail: orange-basil sours makes a delicious alternative to the classic “Old Fashioned” bourbon cocktail, and lemon-thyme sours is a perfect replacement for a Tom Collins (or pretty much any gin-based cocktail). So don’t let those herbs go to waste! All this recipe takes is a little patience and a little thyme.

Homemade Herb Sours Mix

This is a ratio recipe so it can be adapted to however much citrus juice you plan to use.

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part water
  • 1 part citrus juice
  • Left over herbs of pretty much any reasonable quantity

Peel the citrus fruit and set the peel aside.

Juice the fruit to determine the amount of juice you have. For example, when I juiced two lemons and one orange, I had a total of 3/4 cup juice, so I also measured out 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water. Combine the sugar, water, and add the peel of the citrus fruit and all of the herbs wholesale. Just dump them all in, stems and leaves and all.


Heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is barely simmering. The herbs should brighten up a bit and the peels should just begin to become translucent. Let it cool completely before straining. Make sure to press the peel and herbs to extract all of the flavorful goodness out of them. Once the syrup is cool, combine with citrus juice. Enjoy in a cocktail of your liking (ideas to come…).


I love this little bottle I purchased at Michaels.


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