A Vanilla Rose
I bet you and your friends have a few summertime traditions. Maybe an annual girls or guys day at the beach? An annual 4th of July BBQ? Maybe even a camping trip? A group of my friends, who have long scattered across several state lines and life stages (singles, newly weds, divorcees, and new parents are all among them), come together once a year on a Saturday in June to sit under the same tree in a big back yard, drink a lot of beer, play horseshoes and pretend for a little while that we’re still carefree and 20.
Quite frankly though, I’ve outgrown what little taste I had for a keg of lager beer. So, this year I decided I’d try a taking along the ingredients for a cocktail. While I do like some traditions, I’m always on the hunt for a brand spankin’ new culinary concoction, drinks recipes being no exception. Plus, like any reunion attendee who’s honest with him or herself, I wanted to bring something funky and interesting to boost my “cool” factor.
Spurred by my success with the Lavender Lemon Soda recipe, I thought I’d try another simple syrup infused with a fresh herb that would add a little somethin’-somethin’ to my cocktail. The rosemary plants in my garden called out to me immediately. But I really didn’t know what to put with the flavor of rosemary in a sweet context (which brings up a question: have any of you ever had a “savory” cocktail, besides a Bloody Mary? I couldn’t think of any). I remembered the Lemon Rosemary cake from last autumn, but took a sharp right turn from that formula when I noticed the long-neglected bottle of vanilla vodka that I’d been using to prop up some cookbooks.
Fresh rosemary and a vanilla bean steeped in a warm simple syrup would make a heavenly perfume, save for the sticky factor. The resulting cocktail was heavenly too. But I think the next batch I make will skip the vodka and become a lemonade of a most complex and captivating flavor.
Vanilla Rosemary Spritzer
A Straight from the Farm Original
1 large bunch of fresh rosemary (5-6 stems)
1 vanilla bean
3/4 C. sugar or sugar substitute
1 C. water
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the rosemary (reserve a few of the tops of the stem for garnish), vanilla bean, sugar and water. Bring to a gentle simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least an hour. Strain the syrup into a jar or other container and chill until ready to use.
To make the cocktail, combine 2 parts syrup with 1 part vodka over ice and fill the glass with club soda. Adjust ratio according to taste. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve.
(makes enough syrup for 6-8 drinks)