My favorite thing about summer is all the fresh ingredients that become available to eat and, more significant to my little cocktail world, to drink! Rosemary was the first herb of the season to flourish here at Graft, and we played with many recipes to pinpoint how best to use it in a cocktail: with lemon! And what is more refreshing during a Georgia summer than lemonade and sweet tea? So we settled on a riff on a John Daly (an Arnold Palmer with vodka), dubbed the “Rosy Daly”.
I like this cocktail because it is impossible to get wrong (seriously, don’t stress, just mix!), so feel free to tinker with the proportions to your own liking. Bourbon works very well in this cocktail too, so don’t feel limited to vodka. Mix by the glass or by the pitcher, grab some friends, a back porch, and enjoy!
Rosemary Simple Syrup
Fresh lemon juice
Vodka. I like High Wire from Charleston, SC.
For the Rosemary Simple Syrup:
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
Peel of 1 lemon
Rosemary-Lemon Simple Syrup:
Harvest your rosemary: Cut a fistful of sprigs, each about 5 inches along. I’ve never measured an exact amount of rosemary, just go until your hand is mostly full.
Snip off the pretty tops of the sprigs and save to use as garnishes. Remove the rest of the rosemary off of the stems.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel of one lemon. Be careful not to get any of the white pith, as it is very bitter.
Combine rosemary, lemon peel, sugar, and water in a nonreactive pot. Place over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let it reach a boil, or the rosemary will start to turn bitter.
Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Pour contents into a mason jar or other glass container and let sit at least a few hours. I usually let mine infuse for a day or two, but the rosemary will come through just fine after 2 or 3 hours. Just keep tasting until you’re happy.
When the syrup has infused to your liking, strain out solids and store in a glass container.
Now you are ready to mix your cocktail! I use a jigger to measure in ounces, but you can use any unit that works best for you.
In a rocks glass, or a pitcher for a large batch, combine:
2 parts vodka (or bourbon, if you like)
2 parts sweet tea
1 part fresh lemon juice
1.5 parts rosemary-lemon simple syrup
Stir and garnish each glass with a rosemary sprig you saved from earlier.
Pro Tip: give each sprig a good slap between your palms before garnishing. This will release the plant’s oils and make the rosemary smell heavenly as you sip!
Next week: The Prospector, a trio of bourbon, honey + lemon made in boozy heaven.