Thursday, November 8, 2012
Making A New Year's Drink with Lemon Verbena
I know it seems like I am rushing the season, but I just brought my Lemon verbena plants inside for the winter and they are a bit too large for the house so I am going to have to trim them back. Normally I just dry the leaves I remove, but this year I decided to try something different. I made lemon verbena-infused vodka.
That was after I stumbled across this recipe for a martini made with the vodka. I thought if you wanted to plan ahead, you could make a bit of the vodka and then you would could make this wonderful Lemon Drop to welcome in the New Year.
It is very simple to make Lemon Verbena Infused Vodka. All you need is:
5 fresh lemon verbena sprigs
2 cups vodka
Wash the sprigs and pat dry. Place them in a jar with the vodka and let steep for 12-24 hours. Strain. I infuesed mine for a week rather than 24 hours, but you get the idea.
Lemon Verbena Drop with Thyme
2 cups sugar for the sugar garnish
3 tablespoons sugar for syrup
1/3 cup water
8 sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup plain vodka
¼ cup lemon verbena-infused vodka
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
To make the optional sugar garnish, have ready a bowl of ice water. Lightly oil a baking sheet. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir the 2 cups sugar with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and turns a golden caramel color. Takes about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and plunge the bottom of the pan into the ice water for exactly 10 seconds to halt the cooking. Immediately spoon the hot caramel out onto the prepared baking sheet, creating small strands. Let cool until hard, and then crack into tiny shards. Set aside.
To make a sugar syrup, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the water to a simmer. Add the 3 tablespoons sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Chill 2 martini glasses. In a tall cocktail shaker, combine the thyme sprigs with the sugar syrup. Using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, lightly crush and pound the thyme for 1 minute. Add the vodka, the infused vodka, and the lemon juice. Fill the shaker half full with ice, cover with the lid, and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses. Balance a few sugar shards on each rim. (The remaining shards can be stored, if using, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days). Serve at once.