Thursday, May 15, 2014


The Rockport Herbies met on Wednesday and I gave a program on herbal cocktails and summer herb drinks- beyond iced tea. Here are my notes and some recipes:

Simple Syrup:
Equal parts sugar and water
Heat and stir sugar in water to dissolve

For an Herbal Simple Syrup:
After syrup is made, add coarsely chopped or torn herbs and steep until the syrup is cool.
Strain, label and store in fridge.

For a Summer Herbal Soda:
Use about 1 tablespoon (or to taste) to an 8 ounce glass
Fill glass with ice and sparkling water, garnish with herb or a piece of fruit.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade
1 16-ounce glass
3 strawberries - de-stemmed
5 basil leaves
1.5 ounce Smirnoff Strawberry Vodka
1 ounce Island Oasis Strawberry Puree (or just pureed strawberries)
Fill (approximately 4 oz.) Lemonade
Muddle 3 strawberries - de-stemmed, with the five basil leaves and Smirnoff in a 16-ounce glass. Mix Strawberry Vodka, and Island Oasis Strawberry Puree in mixing glass or martini shaker. Add ice, shake for 15 seconds and pour into glass. Fill with lemonade and stir.
Garnish with extra strawberry and basil.

Summer Watermelon Situation


8 cups diced watermelon (about 1/2 of a small watermelon), plus slices for garnish
8 ounces lemon vodka, chilled
7 ounces simple syrup, recipe follows
1 (17.5-ounce) can coconut juice
1 lemon
Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water


Chill watermelon in the freezer for 30 minutes. Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Serve very cold in a chilled glass, and garnish with watermelon or lemon slices.

Blackberry Herb Cocktail

Yield: Serves 6


  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle Prosecco (Italian sparkling white wine), chilled
  • Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs and blackberries


Simmer blackberries, sugar, water, and rosemary in a small heavy saucepan, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about two thirds, about 20 minutes.
Pour into a very fine sieve set over a glass measure and let stand 5 minutes (there will be about 1/3 cup). Discard solids (do not press on them). Chill syrup, covered, until cold.
Divide Prosecco among 6 small flutes, then pour 1 1/2 teaspoons syrup into each drink.
Cooks' notes: This recipe makes more syrup than you'll need for 6 drinks. Use additional for extra cocktails or stir it into sparkling water or lemonade for delicious nonalcoholic drinks. Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days.

Rosemary Ruby Cocktail

Prepare Rosemary Simple Syrup
To a tall glass add:
1 tablespoon Rosemary Simple Syrup
fill glass with ice, add Ruby Red Grapefruit juice and a dash of bitters
Stir and enjoy!



Have you ever sipped a shrub? Not a bush, but a fruit syrup, preserved with vinegar and mixed with water or alcohol to make a tangy, refreshing beverage. An old-fashioned favorite, shrubs have steadily made a comeback, especially on cocktail menus, but they aren't solely the province of mixologists. Making a shrub syrup at home is a fun way to preserve and play with seasonal fruit, and this template may be followed for practically any fruit you have on hand. In addition to drinks, you can use the brightly flavored syrup in salad dressings, as a glaze for meats, or add a splash to homemade jam.
The word "shrub" is derived from the Arabic sharbah, which means "a drink." "Sherbet" and "syrup" also come from this Arabic root. Although drinking vinegars aren't so common today, they have a long history stretching back to the Babylonians, who added date vinegar to water to make it safe to drink, and the Romans, who mixed vinegar and water to make a beverage called posca. Colonial-era sailors carried shrubs, rich with Vitamin C, aboard their boats to prevent scurvy. Shrubs also gained popularity during the Temperance movement and many 19th and early 20th century housekeeping manuals contain recipes for them.

2 cups fresh, whole berries (frozen also works)
2 cups vinegar (we like using Champagne or apple cider vinegar, though distilled white vinegar may be substituted in a pinch)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, or more, to taste

Large glass jar with lid
Clean glass bottle

Combine the fruit and vinegar in a large jar, tightly screw on the lid and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Let infuse for one week at room temperature, shaking daily. Strain the juice through a double layer of cheesecloth and funnel into a clean glass bottle. Add sugar and shake to combine. Refrigerate for one week before using, shaking daily until sugar has fully dissolved.

To dilute in a drink, add one ounce (or more, depending on taste) to five ounces of soda water. Serve over ice.

Following the method outlined above, you can experiment with these other flavor combinations:
Blackberry + fresh thyme
Cucumber + mint + honey
Cherry + vanilla bean + maple syrup
Ginger + Demerara sugar
Apple + agave
Strawberry + basil

Mint Champagne Shrub


  • 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur
  • 1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Chilled sparkling wine $
  • Garnish: fresh mint leaves


  1. Muddle first 2 ingredients in a cocktail shaker to release flavors; add elderflower liqueur and next 3 ingredients. Fill shaker with ice; cover with lid, and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled (about 30 seconds). Strain into 8 (8-oz.) glasses; top with sparkling wine.

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