Makes 2 small drinks

The Dreaming Bee, an herbal mocktail created by herbal bartender Cassandra Sears. Photo by Cassandra Sears

This recipe comes from Cassandra Sears, an herbal bartender from Shapleigh who works at Bandaloop restaurant in Kennebunkport. She recently made mocktails for 500 at the International Herb Symposium at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

“I have a special interest in wanting to make mocktails that are just as sophisticated as cocktails,” she said. “I like alcohol personally, but I don’t want to drink it every day because it’s not healthy.”

Sears believes people can use herbs to address some of the root desires that may lead them to drink alcohol. “A lot of times people are looking to calm their nervous system, which they can do better with herbs,” she said.

This cocktail, Sears said, is great for the person who gets tired and overheated in summer; it contains adaptogenic and nervine herbs that she says help with stress.

If you can’t find fresh tart (or sour) cherries, use frozen cherries or tart cherry juice.

To make vinegar bitters, soak bitter herbs (such as dandelion root and leaf, burdock root and gentian) in apple cider vinegar for at least two weeks. Or buy them from a local source; Sears likes the brand Urban Moonshine.

To make the bee balm-infused Maine sea salt, grind the flower petals and sea salt in a mortar and pestle until you can no longer see the petals, or use a food processor.

2-3 ounces fresh or dried tulsi leaf

2-3 ounces fresh or dried Passiflora (passionflower) tea

2 handfuls tart (aka sour) cherries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Several drops vinegar bitters

1 teaspoon raw honey


Bee balm-infused salt (to make, see recipe notes)

Bee balm, passionflower or tulsi sprig, to garnish

Grated nutmeg 

Brew the tulsi and Passiflora tea together. Cover, set aside for at least 10 minutes.

Pit the cherries, setting some aside for the garnish. Discard the pits. Blend the cherries, minus those for garnish, with the vanilla into a puree.

Transfer the puree to a shaker or jar, and add the tea, bitters and honey. Shake with ice and strain over cracked or crushed ice in a fun glass salted with bee balm-infused Maine sea salt. Garnish with bee balm, passionflower or tulsi sprig, and reserved tart cherries. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, if desired.

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