Carry Porter of Kirkland, WA wasn't willing to miss out on a moment of the party by making cocktails one by one, so she created her "herbaltini" in a pitcher. This refreshing drink "combines the fresh herbs that many people have left over after cooking holiday dishes," she explains.
24 fresh mint sprigs (4 in. each), rinsed
12 fresh rosemary sprigs (3 in. each), rinsed
3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 oranges (6 oz. each), chilled, rinsed, and quartered
2 1/4 cups gin, chilled in the freezer
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 7 limes), chilled
1 1/2 cups soda water, chilled
Fresh mint leaves, rinsed
How to Make It
In a 2 1/2- to 3-quart pitcher, combine mint sprigs, rosemary sprigs, and sugar. With a long-handled wooden spoon, muddle (or crush) the herbs and sugar together. Squeeze juice from oranges into pitcher, then drop quarters in. Press a few times with spoon to release oil from orange peels. Stir in gin, lime juice, and 1/2 cup ice water. Mix until sugar is dissolved. Serve (see step 2), or cover and chill up to 4 hours (see notes). If using martini glasses, chill in freezer.
To serve, slowly pour chilled soda water into the pitcher, down the side. Stir gently to blend. Pour through a strainer into chilled martini glasses or ice-filled glasses. Float a mint leaf on top of each. Serve at once.
Crushed mint turns dark after about 20 minutes. If you'd like to make this drink up to 4 hours ahead, strain the mixture just before your guests arrive, return it to the pitcher, then add a handful of fresh mint leaves.