Ontario’s Botanical Bounty: Adding Local Flora to Summer Cocktails
Adding local flora to summer cocktails

As the warm breeze of summer sweeps across Ontario, it brings with it an abundance of native plants that can elevate your cocktail game to new heights. From refreshing mint to zesty citrus, Ontario's diverse botanical landscape offers a myriad of flavors and aromas to experiment with

Indigenous Plants to Enhance Your Summer Cocktails

Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa): Also known as bee balm, wild bergamot lends a delightful citrusy and floral note to cocktails. Its aromatic leaves and blossoms can be muddled or used as a garnish in gin-based drinks or citrusy cocktails like mojitos and margaritas.

Wild bergamot

Juniper Berries (Juniperus communis): Juniper berries, the key botanical in gin production, grow abundantly in Ontario's forests. Infusing gin with locally foraged juniper berries adds a distinct piney and peppery flavor to classic gin cocktails like the gin and tonic or the negroni.

Juniper berries

Elderflower (Sambucus canadensis): Elderflower blooms in early summer, offering delicate floral and honeyed notes that pair beautifully with sparkling wine or vodka. Create a refreshing elderflower spritz by combining elderflower liqueur with prosecco and a splash of soda water, garnished with fresh elderflower blossoms.


Wild Mint (Mentha arvensis): Wild mint grows prolifically along streams and in meadows across Ontario. Its cool and refreshing flavor makes it a perfect addition to summer cocktails like the classic mojito or the mint julep. For a local twist, infuse vodka with wild mint for a homemade mint-infused spirit.

Wild mint

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum): Rhubarb's tart and tangy flavor adds a refreshing kick to cocktails, especially when paired with sweeter ingredients like strawberries or honey. Create a rhubarb syrup by simmering rhubarb stalks with sugar and water, then use it to sweeten vodka-based cocktails or add a splash to your favorite gin and tonic.


Sumac (Rhus spp.): Sumac berries, with their tangy and citrusy flavor, can be used to make a homemade sumac-infused syrup that adds a unique twist to cocktails. Combine sumac syrup with bourbon and lemon juice for a refreshing summertime sour.

Sumac berries

Wild Blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium): Ontario's wild blueberries are bursting with flavor and antioxidants, making them a perfect addition to summer cocktails. Muddle fresh blueberries in a cocktail shaker and combine with vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup for a delicious blueberry vodka sour.

Wild blueberries

Incorporating Ontario's native plants into your summer cocktails not only adds a local and sustainable twist but also celebrates the diverse flavors and aromas of the region. Whether you're foraging for wild herbs or picking berries in the countryside, exploring Ontario's botanical bounty is sure to enhance your summer drinking experience. Cheers to the flavors of the Great White North!

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