Though the oils released from a sprig or two of crushed herbs add no more than a hint of flavor, it’s really all a drink needs to go from good to so much better.

As for the best way to harness the flavor while avoiding a mouthful of leaves? Don’t even get us started on the whole slapping mint thing (it just looks so silly). Muddling is the way to go. Use the end of a wooden spoon—or a legit muddler—to smash the herbs at the bottom of a glass or cocktail shaker. Mix the cocktail as you normally would, then either strain into a clean cup or cover the drink with crushed ice, as in our Monster Smash. For a more balanced herbiness, make a quick simple syrup (recipe at the bottom).

Have you ever sipped on a cup of peppermint tea and wished it were a little boozier? You’re in luck! Mint is the only herb that goes with every cocktail. It also tastes amazing in white wine and most beers. We stand by this. Go buy some mint and make these cocktails ASAP.

Blackberry Mint Julep

The Verdant Lady

Warm, earthy sage goes well in a Thanksgiving stuffing, but it also pairs well with gin and bourbon, and particularly with lemon and honey drinks. We’re thinking Bee’s Knees or Gold Rush, and here are the recipes to get you going.

Sage Bee’s Knees

Sage Gold Rush

It’s not just for pesto, guys. Peppery yet sweet, basil makes a killer cocktail addition. Keep it simple when adding this herb to drinks: Gin, vodka, and tequila are your best bets. Muddled fruit is a helpful addition to offset any bitterness. Enjoy this margarita or Moscow Mule, or both (times two).

Blueberry Basil Margarita

Peach and Basil Moscow Mule

We know four to 14 percent of you just made an “ick” face—because science—so we’re talking to the rest of the population on this one. Simple tequila and lime margaritas (spicy ones too!) and Moscow Mules are the best choices. See the trend?

Cilantro Margarita

Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule

These woody herbs aren’t just spiky garnish for drinks. White and sparkling wine do piney rosemary and slightly peppery thyme justice, as do gin Gimlets and Whiskey Sours.

Meyer Lemon and Thyme Gimlet

Rosemary and Nectarine Whiskey Sour

Herb Simple Syrup

This simple 1:1:1 ratio is easily doubled, tripled, etc. 1 cup water 1 cup sugar Large handful herb leaves/sprig1. Stir water, sugar, and herbs together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, until the sugar has just dissolved.2. Remove from heat and let stand for 25 minutes.3. Strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar. Tightly close the lid and chill for at least 3 hours before using. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.