Normally when I think of herbs, I think of savory dishes made from scratch or perhaps even freshly baked bread. And yet lately, every time I cut rosemary from our window box I find myself craving a cocktail. (Thankfully I only gather herbs on occasion.)
For a long time I stuck to sweet and tropical beverages, but lately – thanks to a little guidance from the Mister – I’ve been learning to appreciate the way well balanced flavors can offer an entire taste experience. What started as just an experiment came about one evening last summer when we lived in a second floor apartment that had a garage underneath it – which meant a whole lot of heat that the AC couldn’t keep up with and no basement to retreat to. As we sat on our balcony that night, the desire for a refreshing beverage too much to resist, we looked to the containers of herbs we had brought with us from 1644 and noticed the rosemary was in ample supply.
A few weeks prior to that, I had tried a prohibition-style gin and rosemary cocktail and loved it! Although we didn’t recreate that exactly, you could say it inspired this particular pairing. It’s like a really good lemonade but with the sweet and tart balanced out by the woodsy aromatics of rosemary. In other words, it is the perfect cool-me-down for hot summer nights like this!
Rosemary Lemon Spritz
what you need…
Rosemary Simple Syrup:
Combine one part sugar to one part water* in small sauce pan. Once sugar is dissolved, add a whole sprig(s) of rosemary (keeping it whole allows for easy removal once it has fulfilled it’s flavorful destiny). You can add more rosemary depending on how strong of an infusion you desire, but be mindful that too much can be a little medicinal. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once syrup has condensed slightly, remove from heat and discard rosemary. Allow to cool.
* We use 1/3 c for the water and sugar which makes more than enough for four cocktails.
Combine 1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup, 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 oz gin, and a dash of citrus bitters (optional). Stir with ice and top glass with tonic. Garnish with lemon slice and fresh sprig of rosemary.
Makes 1 serving.
T I P : If your rosemary simple syrup ended up a little weak, run the fresh rosemary along the top of the glass prior to adding it as a garnish. That way you’ll get a bit more of that flavor from the oils with each sip you take.