Four Crowd Pleasing Botanical Cocktails to Try at Home

Want to impress your guests or treat yourself to something special? Check out these four botanically-inspired cocktails that are surprisingly simple to customize with a little advanced preparation. Let your local farmers market or even your own backyard be your inspiration. These botanical cocktail recipes are versatile so grab what’s fresh and get mixin’!

Bluebell vine (Clitoria ternatea) Growing in ROBA

We let our Regenerative Organic Breadfruit Agroforestry (ROBA) project in McBryde Garden on Kauai inspire the ingredients for these botanical treats. More than 100 plant species and varieties are thriving in this demonstration garden which produces a year-round, environmentally sustainable harvest. Learn more about how NTBG’s Breadfruit Institute addresses critical global food security issues.

Kōloa Rum Company

These recipes were crafted by the mixologist at Kōloa Rum Company, a local, single batch craft distiller and bottler of premium Hawaiian rums. Kōloa Rum has supported NTBG and plant conservation since 2013. Learn more about corporate sponsorship.

Botanical Cocktail ‘Walk in the Garden’ Featuring Kōloa Coconut Rum

Walk in the Garden

This light and refreshing, turmeric inspired cocktail will transport you and your guests to the sunniest of gardens. Make the Sunny Shot and honey syrup in advance for an easy mix on the day. Don’t have access to fresh turmeric root? You can substitute with powdered turmeric.

¾ oz Sunny shot

1 ½ oz Honey Syrup (equal parts water and honey)

1 Kaffir Lime leaf

2 oz Kōloa Coconut Rum 

Garnish: Lemon and bee pollen 

Splash with 1 ½ Club Soda

Instructions: Shake Kōloa Coconut Rum, Sunny Shot*, kaffir lime leaf, and honey syrup with ice then strain into chilled glass.  Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wheel and bee pollen

*Sunny Shot: Combine and strain ¾ cup Ginger Juice, ¾ cup Olena (turmeric) Juice, 3 cups Lemon Juice

Botanical Cocktail ‘Tropical Refresher’ Featuring Kōloa Coconut Rum

Tropical Refresher

Looking for something super simple? Then this breezy tropical refresher is for you. Fresh or canned guava juice can be used and fresh herbs like kaffir lime leaf or basil make it special.

2 oz Guava

1.5 oz Kōloa Coconut Rum 

2 Kaffir Lime Leaf

Lemon/lime Soda 

Garnish: Meyer lemon Wedge

Instructions: In a shaker tin, combine Kōloa Coconut Rum, guava juice, and kaffir leaves then muddle about 5 times. Pour into glass, add ice and splash with lemon lime soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Botanical Cocktail ‘Gardenia Treasures’ Featuring Kōloa White Rum

Gardenia Treasures

This floral masterpiece will truly wow your guests, and the gardenia lemonade is surprisingly easy to compile. If you’re not sure where to find gardenias, other edible flowers like jasmine (pikake), hibiscus and lavender are all excellent substitutions. Kōloa White Rum complements vanilla, spicy green notes as well as rich creamy scents. 

3oz Gardenia Lemonade*

1 ½ oz Kōloa White Rum 

Garnish: White petals

Instructions: Stir ingredients in a mixing glass and strain in a chilled coupe glass.  

*Gardenia Lemonade: Equal Parts lemon juice, gardenia simple syrup** and water.

**Gardenia Syrup: soak 5-10 gardenias in a pint of simple syrup for 10 hours then remove flowers.

Botanical Cocktail ‘Lychee Dream Shifter’ Featuring Kōloa Coconut Rum

Lychee Dream Shifter

This amazing color-shifting cocktail occurs naturally from the Bluebell Vine flower (Clitoria ternatea). The flowers are commonly used as a natural, vibrant blue food coloring but changes to a lovely purple when citrus is added.  The dreamy colors are a beautiful surprise that will wow your guests. We added fresh juiced lychee, a fan favorite here on Kauai.

2 oz Kōloa Coconut Rum 

1 oz Bluebell Simple Syrup*

1 oz Fresh Lychee Juice strained

Squeeze Lemon Juice (Approx. 1 oz)  

Garnish: Bluebell Vine Flower

Instructions: Build in shaker. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into martini glass.  After enjoying the beautiful blue color, squeeze lemon juice and stir, watch the color shift to a mysterious purple.  

*Bluebell Simple Syrup: 2 cups sugar to 2 cups distilled water and 5 Blue Bell Flowers. Bring water to a boil, add sugar and flowers, stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and leave flowers in steeping until the desired color is reached.

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