The Tarragon Cocktail

Before I met Eric, I wasn’t much of a gin fan.  Like most booze-related stories, this was due to a night of excessive consumption back in my college days.  There was plenty of mixing, I’m sure… but the big drink from that night was gin.  And it didn’t end well. For a while, I couldn’t even stand the smell of it. The scent of juniper berry gave me an instant hangover.

When Eric and I got together, I quickly learned that I needed to get over my aversion to it.  In the summer, his family drinks gin and tonics nightly as they watch the sunset over the lake at the Cape house. So, I caved.  It didn’t take long for me to fall in love all over again.

I have had the opportunity to sample quite a few different gins over these last few years, both locally produced and from all over the world.  There are a number that I am fond of, but the gin that I am head over heels for is Watershed Gin in Columbus Ohio.  As stated in the description on their website, juniper notes are layered with hints of citrus and this creates one of the most delicate gins I have ever tasted.  If you are at all a gin fan, make friends with someone in Ohio and have them ship you a bottle.

Now that I’ve hyped up this fabulous spirit, let me tell you about this cocktail here, which was created by the folks at The Inn At Honey Run (located in Holmes County), which is where I stayed with a few other food bloggers when we toured Ohio’s Amish Country earlier this year.  While the inn originally prepared The Tarragon with Watershed Vodka, I requested Watershed Gin and, I have to say, I think I liked it better this way.

These are irresistibly delicious and after your first one, I can promise you’ll be refilling your cocktail shaker.  The tarragon simple syrup adds an additional component that brings the flavors in the gin together.

If you can’t get a bottle of Watershed Gin or Vodka, the simple syrup would be great with any other vodka or gin (heck, it even goes well with tequila).  Happy weekend everyone!  Cheers!

The Tarragon Cocktail

created at The Inn at Honey Run 


1/2 oz. Simple Syrup (infused with fresh tarragon… see directions below for the simple syrup)

2 oz. Watershed Vodka or Gin

1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice


Pour ingredients into cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Strain into martini glass.

Garnish with thin lime slice.

For an added touch, also garnish with candied tarragon leaves.

Tarragon Simple Syrup


1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons tarragon leaves, chopped


Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Add the tarragon leaves.  Simmer until the sugar has dissolved.  Take off heat and let the mixture sit for an additional 10 minutes before straining.  Strain the tarragon leaves out of the simple syrup. Let the syrup cool completely before using.

Can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to a month.

  • May 18, 2012 - 4:28 pm

    Michelle Jaffee - It IS gin & tonic season and I love tarragon… Hmmmm. : )ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 4:32 pm

    Sarah from 20something cupcakes - Bourbon. :)

    Looks fantastic. Love me some gin.ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 4:39 pm

    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence - LOVE this. I’ve always been a big fan of gin. I just love the woodsy notes. Perfect with tarragon. Totally making this over the weekend :)ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    Heidi @foodiecrush - Looks delish and I love the “action” in the pics :) congrats on getting your post done by 5. With that cocktail it’ll be easy to start happy hour now.ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 7:30 pm

    Chez Us - Pour me another one, Bartender! I have heard amazing things about this gin; have yet to find it in my neck of the words. I couldn’t agree more with Eric’s family, gin and tonics are perfect during the summer. In fact .. I am going to go make one now!ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    Barbara | Creative Culinary - You know this has my name all over it, right? After being introduced to a local gin from Boulder and touring their distillery, it was one of the most interesting liquors that I had really never put much thought into. Why? Not sure but now know how different they can be depending on the botanicals. Juniper is a given…the others are varied depending on the maker and the notion of citrus? Perfect. Send me some! :)ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 10:35 pm

    MikeVFMK - Love this cocktail, Brian!! Any gin based cocktails with herb simple syrup is a sure winner. And love the shots! But that goes without saying.ReplyCancel

  • May 18, 2012 - 11:08 pm

    Marnely Rodriguez - Love this! I enjoy tarragon in my food, but have never had a drink using it. It’s not an herb I really “grew up eating” and I remember during CIA at one of our first classes, we had to ID herbs and the only one I missed was tarragon. Never again my friend, never again!ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 12:34 am

    Stephanie - I actually do like dry gin. Never really drank it before though..ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 4:36 am

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - I love an herb inspired cocktail! I can relate to how you used to feel about gin, my bad college memories revolve mainly around tequila, still not my beverage of choice.ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 10:50 am

    elisabeth@foodandthrift - The only time I’ll have a cocktail when going to friends’ house who makes cocktails. I agree with Sylvie about the herb inspired cocktail…love tarragon, and I can only imagine how refreshing and awesome this amazing gin cocktail must be.
    Even at my daughter’s we just have wine, and an occasional aperitif!
    I love your photos, as well…the action shots are great!

    Brian, thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. Lora adores you, as well; it’s as if I know you already, myself:DDDReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 2:16 pm

    Cooks&Books&Recipes - It’s Saturday. It’s hot. I need one of these…ReplyCancel

  • May 19, 2012 - 5:03 pm

    Lora @cakeduchess - Beautiful shots…so handsome! This is such a perfect summer drink. I’ve never had a tarragon syrup and imagine it must be wonderful. Gin or vodka…I think I’d like mine with gin. I think it’s cocktail time now and I’ll be right over;)ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Marc @ NoRecipes - I had a similar run-in with gin in college but now it’s one of my favorite spirits. I still have a tough time with Tanqueray though. Never tried Watershed how does it compare to Hendricks? Anyway, the tarragon simple syrup is genius! I wonder how this would taste with a bit of cucumber water.ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    Winnie - I have yet to fall for gin but this looks really delicious, Brian!ReplyCancel

  • May 20, 2012 - 9:48 pm

    Liren - I think the allure of tarragon and the calm of a lake at the Cape would help me fall for gin, too :) Sounds perfect :)ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 7:56 am

    Ken┃hungry rabbit - I have always loved gin and so did M, so when we got together it was double happiness. The tarragon infusion is intriguing, perfect summer refreshment.ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 8:27 am

    Joanne - I definitely had quite a few gin-and-tonic infused nights in college that have left me with an aversion to it, but maybe it’s time that I give it a try but in another context. I love the licorice-y flavor of tarragon…sounds like a tasty cocktail!ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Andrew Frishman - Mnnn!. . . I LOVES me some Gin, especially when it’s not rummy.

    Aqui hoy, y mañana . . . ¿quien sabe?ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 2:05 pm

    Eileen - Not a gin fan? How can this be? :) Gin is by far my favorite liquor, and this cocktail sounds like the perfect way to consume it. Fresh tarragon–genius!ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 6:55 pm

    Russell at Chasing Delicious - I’ve never been a huge gin fan – I mean my martinis are always vodka martinis – but I am thinking I need to give this cocktail a fan. I am enthralled by the idea of incorporated tarragon.

    p.s. look at your furry man arms! Why haven’t I noticed this before? ; )ReplyCancel

  • May 21, 2012 - 6:57 pm

    Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet - It just so happens that I have a giant bunch of tarragon that I just picked yesterday! Hello Tarragon Cocktail…I heart you! Thanks Brian for great inspiration.


  • May 23, 2012 - 2:32 pm

    Restaurant supply gal - I like this take on gin cocktails. I have had then best juniper flavored soda and gin. Great and refreshing. Thanks for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • May 23, 2012 - 8:14 pm

    Amy @ FragrantVanillaCake - I could totally go for one of these right now! Gin is one of y favorites for warm weather and the tarragon and lime would be so refreshing with it! I need to try this!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2012 - 9:00 am

    Becs @ Lay the table - This sounds like a really interesting cocktail – I can’t imagine how it tastes!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2012 - 5:57 pm

    Debi Shawcross - Definitely know I will love this one even more than the Woman & Work cocktail we had at 21C!ReplyCancel

  • May 24, 2012 - 9:03 pm

    Chef Dennis - I have never been a big gin enthusiast, but you make me want to give it a try……I love the idea of the tarragon infused simple syrup, and I do love lime! We can put it on the list of drinks for the BPSReplyCancel

  • June 7, 2012 - 8:22 am

    What I'm Craving: Cocktails | Naturally Ella - […] Tarragon Cocktail from A Thought for Food (I’m completely intrigued by tarragon and gin together- sounds amazing!) […]ReplyCancel

  • July 2, 2012 - 1:24 pm

    BLOGGER CRUSH - […] shares his personality—the good, bad and the naughty often topped off with an inspiring cocktail recipe and drool-worthy photography—Brian creates a welcome space in the blogosphere to sit back and […]ReplyCancel

  • July 4, 2012 - 2:35 pm

    10 Delicious Red, White, and Blue Cocktails | The Daily Muse - […] The Tarragon Cocktail (A Thought For Food) […]ReplyCancel

  • September 6, 2012 - 9:01 pm

    Alanna Taylor-Tobin - This looks delicious! I never thought to combine tarragon and gin in a cocktail (though I have made tarragon olive oil ice cream!). They sound like an excellent combo. Lovely post!ReplyCancel

  • December 2, 2012 - 1:44 pm

    Nicole - We recently had a cocktail infused with basil. With a surplus of tarragon around the house, I searched for a gin-tarragon drink and came across your blog. We are drinking this right now. Soooo herbal, light and refreshing with a little tang from the lime. Thank you for the recipe! Gorgeous photography, by the way.ReplyCancel

  • April 1, 2013 - 10:38 pm

    Episode 27: “Don’t feel your gin.” | Alphabet Soup Podcast - […] gets a GIN-ducation thanks to fine folks on Twitter like Ken, Marnely, Swabreen, Felicia, Gail, and Brian. (p.s. Bryan’s got a fantastic terragon-gin cocktail recipe) Got a favorite gin cocktail? […]ReplyCancel

  • June 11, 2013 - 9:47 pm

    Eric Rodgers - I finally tried out tarragon in cocktails this year, after getting a ridiculously good deal on some fresh tarragon at the grocery store one day. For me, the first effort was in a tarragon kamikaze, using Ketel One vodka and Grand Marnier, on top of muddled lemon and lime. Absolutely delicious.ReplyCancel

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