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Garden-to-glass cocktails in Tacoma

So an Herb walks into a bar ...

Hilltop Kitchen's To the Left cocktail swings both ways: sweet and heat. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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April showers bring May flowers, and by June, gardens are flourishing and ripe with the fruits of love and hard labor. And while green thumbs let out a collective sigh at the sight of their lush green plant babies, I've got one thing on the noggin': How will the lovely aromatic herbs and leafy greens taste in springy boozy craft cocktails? Awesome, of course. So rinse that nourishing, filthy soil from your hands and join me as we journey through some of Tacoma's herb-y drink concoctions.

It's only natural that a waterside establishment such as Duke's Chowder House would feature a summer staple like the mojito year round, but they one up it by offering this refreshing minty concoction in a variety of flavors like cucumber, orange and killer cherry as well as a traditional 10 Cane Mojito. 

Asado is pure class and includes an Old Town Squeeze on its cocktail menu. Featuring Effen Cucumber Vodka, Patron Citronage muddled with lime and mint, this one is so refreshing you'd almost mistake it for a flavorful h2o combo.

Hilltop Kitchen is known for its compelling potions and spectacular tinctures. To The Left features mezcal, grilled pineapple, lime, egg white and a nontraditional, plant-based leafy green in stinging nettles topped with pineapple ash and cayenne pepper. It's an earthy beverage with whispers of sweet and heat. The summer menu is expected to include a tequila cocktail with a cilantro, mint and serrano pepper shrub that is sure to please the herb lovers.

The Social Bar and Grill introduces fresh basil into cocktails like the citrusy, refreshing martini the Movie Star and its gin-based concoction, Hendricks's Experience. Sister store Paesan Kitchen and Bar uses it in its Basil Cooler and presents a twist in the mint-based classic with a Gallent Mojito by adding fennel and Galliano.

1022 South J intrigues with its Charming Little Secrets, a mojito-esque drink that uses captivating Italian liquor Fernet Branca. 

Smoke + Cedar has some unique flavors to both nibble and imbibe, and its herby cocktail contributions include a Smoky Palmer, which combines vodka with lapsang souchong - a smoky black tea varietal - and the Spring Fields gin drink, with a lavender and sage infused Bianco Vermouth. 

Marrow Kitchen and Bar places hip human monikers upon its adult beverages, including Rigby. He's comprised of Tito's Vodka adorned with pine-y rosemary and zesty lemon kicks.

Always a solid presence in the craft cocktail scene, fine dining establishment Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge introduces Ruby's Delight on its current cocktail selections. Featuring a rhubarb, mint and lemon-infused gin, it's sure to be a flavorful and fun adventure in drinking.

The Crown Bar features several of those fresh little aromatic herbs this season.  Field of Greens says it all with celery, gin, mint and lime. Then there's the funky and fun Pimm's and Rosemary Infusion, plus another potion in its fresh rosemary and limeade basil gimlet.

Slide off those gardening gloves and let the booze slingers prepare you libations featuring your favorite aromatic and tasty herbs. After all, you've worked your hump off in the blazing hot sun for those precious little photosynthesizing beasts.

Duke's Chowder House, 3327 Ruston Way, Tacoma

Asado, 2810 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

Hilltop Kitchen, 913 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma

Social Bar and Grill, 1715 Dock St., Tacoma

Paesan Kitchen and Bar, 1701 Dock St, Tacoma

1022 South J, 1022 S. J St., Tacoma

Smoke + Cedar, 2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma

Marrow Kitchen and Bar, 2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge, 454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma

Crown Bar, 2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma

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