A herb garden is a fresh (and useful!) way to brighten up any kitchen windowsill. Homegrown herbs will save you from sad, plastic-wrapped supermarket herbs, and when you grow your own from cuttings you can cut out the plastic completely. To get you started we’ve put together a simple guide to growing herbs from cuttings.
To help you use your flourishing herbs, we’ve come up with a bright, refreshing summer cocktail using homegrown tarragon, although the simple syrup recipe will work with most herbs, so why not try out basil or rosemary syrup as well. We love pairing the basil syrup with strawberries, and the rosemary is perfect in a grapefruit-based cocktail.
- Start by taking your cutting from a fully grown plant. The piece should be about 3 – 4 inches long. You’ll need to cut just below where the leaves come out of the stem.
- Remove the bottom leaves from your cutting.
- For tarragon, rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage place into a pot of compost and water well
- Basil, mint, lemon balm, oregano and place it in a glass of water.
- Leave in a sunny indoor spot like a windowsill.
- Over the next couple of weeks roots will develop from the bottom of the cutting.
- Once your little cutting has roots, gently plant it into some compost / a bigger pot, water it, love it dearly and watch it grow!
There's so many resources and guides on the internet, it's always worth have a little search when you find a specific herb you want to take a cutting from. We love the RHS website and in particular this article on herb propagation: www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=639
Once your herbs are big enough to use, why not try this delicious tarragon cocktail.
For the syrup
- 100g granulated sugar
- 200ml water
- 2 sprigs tarragon
For each cocktail
- 25ml gin
- 25ml syrup
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 sprig tarragon
- prosecco, to top up
- First make the syrup- add the sugar and water to a pan over a low heat until the sugar dissolves, do not let it boil before the sugar dissolves. There’s no need to stir but you can gently agitate the sugar with the other end of a wooden spoon to help the sugar dissolve. This will take a while, but be patient!
- Once the sugar has dissolved, add the whole tarragon sprigs and bring to the boil for 5 minutes.
- Leave to cool before using. Store in bottle or jar in the fridge for up to 6 months.
- To make the cocktail, fill a shaker with ice, add the gin, lemon juice and syrup, then roughly tear up a sprig of tarragon and add it to the shaker. Shake and strain into a glass then top up with prosecco, and garnish with a tarragon sprig.