Hearty and assertive, Oregano is an herb whose versatility makes it an ideal compliment to a wide range of cocktails. Used across the globe there are many different varieties including Greek and Italian, this herb is widely available which makes it easy to experiment with Oregano cocktails.
Historically used for its medicinal properties, Oregano has a fascinating story. Originally found in Europe and Central Asia, its name originates from two Greek words roughly translated mean: mountain joy. In addition, Swedish mountain peasants added Oregano to their ale to give it a more intoxicating quality while preserving it for storage.
What Does Oregano Taste Like?
Oregano is a strongly flavored, aromatic herb that can vary in both flavor and intensity. Generally many describe the flavor as slightly bitter with both lemon and pepper notes. Apparently I’ve never experienced good quality fresh Oregano, because I’m told that it can be strong enough to almost numb the tongue. Regardless it’s a very pleasant herb and the Oregano cocktails I’ve encountered have been delicious.
Although there are many different varieties available, Greek (Mediterranean) Oregano tends to be the most commonly available in US markets, however you may encounter Mexican Oregano which is a close cousin.
How to Pronounce Oregano
Oregano can trace its popularity in the United States back to the return of GIs from World War 2 when it was simply referred to solely as the pizza herb. Thankfully the use of Oregano has become much more widespread which facilitated the use of its proper name in both the kitchen and behind the bar. So to keep you out of trouble, “hold the pizza” and get the proper pronunciation here:
2 Oregano Cocktails to Get You Started
There are quite a few different Oregano cocktail recipes and it took some time to uncover a couple that adheres to The Cocktail Novice Doctrine of “Simple and Delicious.” Thankfully you won’t need a bottle of cucumber liqueur or some other scarce ingredient. Each of these is fairly simple to prepare with ingredients most kitchens should have. Cheers!
Oregano Infused Paloma
If you’ve never been introduced to a Paloma you’re in for a treat my friend… This popular Mexican thirst quencher is delicious in its’ own right, but the addition of an herbal component makes it one of my favorite Oregano cocktails. And after just a sip I’m confident you’ll agree.
Oregano Simple Syrup
- ¼ C. Sugar
- ¼ C. Water
- 2 Sprigs Oregano
- Combine Ingredients in small sauce pan
- Stir over medium heat until sugar is disolved
- Allow to cool, then strain
- Salt the Rim of a Coupe Glass
- Add Tequila, Grapefruit Juice & Simple Syrup to a Cocktail Shaker Filled With Ice
- Shake Briskly
- Strain Into Glass
- Top with Soda
Note: This cocktail can also be built in-glass for those that want to stick to the basics.
Bloody Mariana Cocktail
A variation on the classic brunch favorite, the Bloody Mariana takes the Bloody Mary a step further with the addition of lime and Oregano. Little is known about the history of this cocktail, however the name seems suggestive of north pacific island chain that saw brutal fighting during the Second World War. Well whatever the source, this cocktail is delicious no matter where it came from!
- 2 oz vodka
- 6 oz V8 vegetable juice
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 dash Tabasco sauce
- 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
- 1 dash white pepper
- 1 dash celery salt
- 1 dash oregano
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cube
- Shake well
- Strain into a highball glass, add a stick of celery, and serve