Use Leftover Herbs in a Cocktail

Leftover Herbs Gin Cocktail

I want to talk about leftover herbs. You know, that slimy bundle of green stems that gets gross quicker than you can say zucchini in summertime. What can you (should you) do with that mess?

Well, it so happens that I’ve been challenged to come up with an idea.

I think I told you about a ZOOM meeting we’ve been doing with friends in New York. The idea is simple. Create a cocktail and appetizer for virtual sharing (and discussing). The trick is that you must follow a theme. A can of chickpeas was one of the challenges (that was fun). This week the theme is leftovers. You know the junk that hangs around the deepest, darkest corners of your refrigerator.

Leftover Herbs

I looked into my fridge and saw half a plate of fettuccine, the bad bottom of a bagel, and some carrots that grew enough fuzz to qualify them for puberty.

I also saw herbs. Herbs resting bouquet-style in a glass of water. Herbs long-forgotten on the back shelf. Herbs both purchased from the farmer’s market and/or harvested from my own yard– then quickly forgotten. 

Salad Bowl Gin and Tonic

I have great expectations when I buy or harvest herbs. I bet you do too.

Herbs represent all the best things in life. New beginnings and flavorful tomorrows. All the things I need to make. All the things I want to make. All the things that I will make to get us through this COVID thing. 

But herbs are fickle. They get themselves in a pickle fairly quickly.

So use them while you can. Embrace. Engulf. Cradle. Clutch. Clinch. Consume. 

I made a Gin and Tonic cocktail using any and all the leftover herbs I could pinch from my fridge. 

I don’t know what the weather is like where you live. But this drinks drinks like a bountiful summer. The kind of summer we’re all longing for. I call it a Salad Bowl Gin and Tonic and it’s a cocktail that feels like a nourishing meal. GREG

Leftover Herbs in a salad Bowl Gin and Tonic
Leftover Herbs in a salad Bowl Gin and Tonic

Salad Bowl Gin and Tonic 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1Source Savory Cocktails by Greg HenryPublished
Leftover Herbs in a salad Bowl Gin and Tonic


  • 2–3 tablespoon fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, basil, dill and tarragon leaves (loosley packed)
  • 2–3 tablespoon chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 (1‑inch) piece English cucumber (roughly chopped)
  • 2–3 ounce London dry style gin (to taste)
  • tonic water (as needed)
  • 2 sprigs parsley, basil or other herb (as garnish, optional)


If any of the herbs, such as thyme, have woody stems remove the stems and discard them. Set the remaining soft leaves and herbs aside.

Choose a traditional American pint or similarly shaped sturdy, thick-bottomed 14 to 16-oz glass. 

Add the prepared herbs along with the chopped tomatoes, and chopped cucumber to the glass. Use a long-handled bar muddler to crush the vegetables and herbs together until a fragrant, pulpy mush is achieved. Fill the glass with medium ice cubes, stir, then add the gin, and stir again. Top with tonic water, as needed. Stir again. Garnish with herb sprigs, if using.