Hello Weekend—It’s the Botanical Bartender

Aug 2014

Are you ready for the weekend? Well, let me introduce you to the Botanical Bartender. Summer is winding down and beautiful weather on forecast for the days ahead, this is the perfect guy to meet if you are interested in creating delicious, unusual cocktails.

summer cocktails botanical bartender

With all the social media coming our way, what is it that makes us stop and look a little deeper? Follow someone, and hear what they have to say. For me, it usually begins with the visual. Mike had me at the honeysuckle. The photo immediately took me back to youthful days picking the flowers and sucking the sweet honey nectar out of the blossoms.

honeysuckle flowers botanical bartender

When I looked a little further, I discovered a Mike Di Tota working at Sweet Afton in Astoria, NY and has a degree in Professional Horticulture from the New York Botanical Garden.  He was concocting these fantastic mixes of flowers and herbs and all things alcoholic. Nothing that revolutionary on the cocktail scene, but he was sharing recipes for mixes and syrups and infused alcohol.  I found his generosity and sense of humor very refreshing in this age of star mixologists.  His inspiration came from the book Bitters, which I also own and if you like making cocktails you should too. I suspect his background had a tad to do with it also.  It’s where he says he began his journey into “DIY-landia” and doesn’t plan on ever coming back.


The Honeysuckle concoction was called Honey I’m Home and combined rum, sauvignon blanc, honeysuckle, lemon and grapefruit bitters.  I want to make it just so I can say the name! {it’s a common phrase in our house}.

currants botanical bartender

Have you seen all the gorgeous shiny red currants in the markets? How about a Red Currant and Lemon Scented Geranium Cocktail to start off the weekend.


So back to the BlackBerry Tarragon the star of the Sparrow and Brambles brunch cocktail. Infusions are made by Mike for almost everything on his menu. Recipes are included on his feed.

Since I’m headed to Nantucket for the weekend, It’s only fitting I leave you with a recipe for the Path of Roses.  Rosehips are lining the walks to the beach and the whole area is covered with the glow of the orange and red crab apple sized fruits.

rose hip cocktail

Its a heady  combination of Rose Hip/Hibiscus Infused Gin, Lillet Blanc, Rose Geranium Syrup, Lemon + House Rhubarb Bitters.

  • 2 0z Rose Hip/Hibiscus Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz. Rose Geranium Syrup
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 3 dashes house made rhubarb bitters {Mike’s recipe for this is forthcoming, so you’ll have to sub here}
  • Garnish: Rose geranium leaf

Add all ingredients {except leaf} to shaker tin, ice and shake.  Double strain into chilled coupe and garnish.

Rose hip/infused gin: Infuse 6 T dried rose hips and 3 T Dried hibiscus flowers with 1 750ml bottle of gin in a large glass jar for 3 days.  Shake mixture daily. Strain and bottle. To make Rose geranium syrup: Make a simple syrup using ratio of 1:1 sugar and water.  Use 2 cups water/2 cups sugar.  If you are going to go to all the trouble, then make a good batch, i’m sure it will be delicious on other things as well. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and add 1 cups freshly harvested Rose Geranium leaves.  Mike suggest giving them a pound to release the oils before adding to the syrup.

I hope you have great plans for one of the last weekends of summer.  Cheers!

All photos used with permission from the Botanical Bartender.  You can follow mike and see more of his talent on instagram @botanicalbartender

  1. Beautiful drinks, save me one 🙂

  2. anna parker says:

    wow – those cocktails are too gorgeous to drink! I love that they are so interesting and different – I sigh when given a cocktail menu that has the same old options, this is perfect!

  3. Superb photos, very tempting indeed. I adore the concept, how fantastic. The cocktail recipe seems fab also – gin is a huge thing here in Spain at the moment, with Gin Tonic bars popping up here and there.

  4. Love this post– I like anything botanical and flowery flavours. The honeysuckle concoction really entices. Exquisite photos!

  5. Wow, can’t say I’ve ever seen cocktails like these before! Whilst I’m not particularly a fan of cocktails (I’d sooner just have a glass of wine), I’d certainly be up for trying anything a little bit different like this…

  6. These cocktails look lovely—even before noon:-)