Lemon Verbena Drop

Lemon Verbena Drop Recipe


In the past I've had (a few) friends who tended to treat cocktails more like fashion accessories than beverages. They always opted for the drink that best matched their handbag or shade of lipstick. Bless them though, because they always looked cute. Or cute for a while. There is a place up the street that serves saketinis in a pretty range of sunset colors - reds, pinks, oranges. They serve them in ultra-wide, shallow martini glasses. Turn one way, and the drink in your glass slides right out the other side. It's a given, anytime we go there someone will end up either wearing their own drink, or wearing someone else's.

I got out of the habit of ordering fancy drinks at bars - but making fancy drinks at home is still fun. And today's recipe certainly qualifies as a fancy drink.

I was at the Eatwell Farm stand on Saturday chatting with Lisa and Kyle when the breeze shifted direction, the whole stand filled up with the smell of lemon verbena. Have you smelled it? It is wonderful. There was a huge pile stacked in the corner begging for someone to put it to good use. Lisa started telling me about an amazing lemon verbena drop cocktail that was included in the Eatwell newsletter the previous week. I was sold, couldn't wait to try it, and asked her to send the recipe to me. I jumped on the subway with a big bunch of the verbena. It was hard to resist squeezing my bag every couple of minutes, sending puffs of strong citrus-scented air into the subway car all along the N-Judah line.

Lisa sent the recipe to me, and I got to work. As the jar of vodka was infusing it reminded me of a miniature kelp forest with the long, green strands of verbena suspended throughout. Very beautiful.

When it is finished infusing, use it to make the delicious lemon verbena cocktails. But first, pour it through a strainer to remove all the leaves (save a few for garnish). Keep the vodka in a dark place or in your freezer.

A few other ways to use lemon verbena:

- Use it to infuse or finish soups.
- Use it to infuse homemade sorbets.
- Chop up some leaves and toss them into salads.
- Finely chop the leaves and add them to baked goods like scones or drop a handful of leaves into a sack of sugar for an infused base ingredient.

 
 
 
 

Lemon Verbena Drop Recipe

2 oz. lemon verbena infused vodka (instructions below)

splash of Limoncello

sweeten to taste with superfine sugar or simple syrup (less grainy) - start with 1/4 teaspoon or so, and sweeten from there to taste.

In a shaker filled with ice add the lemon verbena vodka, a splash of Limoncello, and the sugar/simple syrup. When it comes to sweetness, you may want to add more or less sweetener depending on how you like your drinks. Shake well and serve in a martini glass with a sprig of lemon verbena and a curl of lemon peel (you can also sugar the rim if desired).

Lemon Verbena Infused Vodka

Clean and dry the jar you are going to use.

You want to wash the lemon verbena you are going to use really well, or the sediment will end up in your vodka. Wash several leafy sprigs of the lemon verbena and pat them dry with a clean towel.

Add the lemon verbena to the vodka. Depending on how much vodka you will be using adjust how much lemon verbena you add. You can see in the above picture I used quite a bit of the verbena and ended up letting it infuse for about 36 hours. It's not an exact science, just keep sampling it until the strength is to your liking.

Seal the jar and wait at least 24 hours. The lemon verbena imparts its flavor to the vodka quite willingly and you will also start to notice a change of color in the vodka. After the initial 24 hours, if you want a more pronounced verbena flavor, let it go longer and taste every 12 hours or so until you feel the infusion is complete.

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Your Comments


Amy
September 29, 2005

I just wrote about cooking (and drink mixing) with lemongrass but I hadn't thought of anything other than making tea out of lemon verbena. Thanks for the recipe.

 

Kiki
September 29, 2005

YUM! YUM! I want some! I think this weekend calls for something refreshing like the lemon verbena drop...thanks Heidi!

 

joseph
September 29, 2005

I got in the habit of making gin & vodka drinks this summer with lemon grass -- I have a big pot on the porch -- & using a stalk of grass as a swizzle stick.

 

mary g
September 30, 2005

Lemon verbena makes a wonderful tea also--a small handful of fresh leaves, or about a tablespoon of dried to a cup.

 

Steve
September 30, 2005

Thanks for the shout out to Eatwell Farm. I've been one of their CSA subscribers for 6.5 years and cannot say enough good things about their fruits and vegetables! Also, Kyle has recently started providing free range eggs to CSA customers. They are fresher and better than anything at the grocery store.

 

Jennifer
September 30, 2005

Your photographs are always beautiful, Heidi, but this one is one of my favorites. I love the light and composition. You must have taken the photo BEFORE you sampled the vodka--your hand is so steady!

 

Heidi
September 30, 2005

Steve,

I did a write up on Kyle and his fantastic eggs for the first issue of Edible San Francisco. It should be out sometime in October, and I'll give the locals a heads up when/where they can pick up the issue when it is available.

And thanks Jennifer, I was sad to have to take the verbena out of the jar eventually - it was so pretty sitting in the sun.

-h


 

Beth - The Zen Foodist
September 30, 2005

Maybe I'm weird but I hadn't ever heard of lemon verbena before stopping by today! Hmmm...

But I'm always in the market for a new cocktail recipe! Thanks!

 

Pim
September 30, 2005

Have you tried infusing Lemon Verbena into the milk before making a custard or crème anglaise? It makes a lovely infusion that's intoxicating as a sauce for, say, a dark chocolate cake, or can be spun into a deliciously aromatic ice cream.

 

Lisa
September 30, 2005

My name in lights! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe enough to share. I had a plain ol' lemon drop at Zuni tonight. It was good, but I just can't go back. Cheers!

 

Rachael
October 2, 2005

LOL. I planted some lemon verbena at my (ex) boyfriends house early this year and it took OFF. Now he is been harrassing me for an explaination of what to do with it...I am so glad someone else did the work! I just have to send him this link. Thanks! Too bad in a way though, because I would have loved to have made some of that vodka myself...mmmm.

 

bec
October 2, 2005

At a celb chef hosted dinner - we recently sampled 'lemon verbena ice-cream' served with macerated raspberries and griddled peaches. Absolutely Divine. Now with these other recipes, think I'll have to find some lemon verbena quickly!

 

saffron
October 3, 2005

I am having a lot of fun learning about infusing herbs and flowers at the moment. I am glad I came across this post, as the little tips you dont come across are great. This weekend I experimented with lavender and milk - which turned into a bread. Quite an interesting creation was made including walnuts.

P.S. This is my delurking comment :)

 

Alissa White
October 4, 2005

An excellent source of Lemon Verbena and other herbal infusions is www.inpursuitoftea.com. A 1/4 lb sells for about $10. Good luck to Eat Well.

 

blintz
October 6, 2005

You can also make a tissane from your verbena....just pour some boiled water over your herbs and let it steep. Very nice after dinner....but the "drop" sounds better!!