A summer of cocktails: Lexington Lemonade

by Jessie K on June 20, 2012

Is it wrong to admit that Jake and I have been sipping these little hummers for the past three nights?  Yes, dear readers, my Summer Cocktail series is so far a hit…at least in my house.

This week’s recipe comes from Chef Collin Donnelly and his wife, cocktail crafter extraordinaire Amanda Bertschi of The Red Hen here in Lexington, Virginia.  (I’ve written about The Red Hen and Chef Donnelly before — click here to read a recent article in Edible Blue Ridge.)

(Chef Donnelly and his Lexington Lemonade)

I’m partial to minimalist refreshments, and Lexington Lemonade fits the bill nicely.  It calls for minimal ingredients, none of which are particularly exotic or expensive, and makes use of fresh, seasonal flavors; in this case, the herb lemon verbena.

Don’t have lemon verbena? Substitute lemon balm or mint.  For the Honey Syrup (recipe below), Collin recommends using a mild tasting local honey — he suggests wildflower honey — over industrial counterparts, which can impart a harsher flavor.  By all means, make extra Honey Syrup for easy after work Lexington Lemonades all summer long!

Lexington Lemonade

Combine 2 shots bourbon (one shot is roughly one quarter cup), 1 1/2 shots local wildflower Honey Syrup (recipe below), 1/2 lemon, juiced, and 3 lemon verbena leaves to  a shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. The shaking action also helps break up the leaves. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with one more leaf and a wedge of lemon. Serves 1.

To make Honey Syrup, dissolve two parts mild tasting local honey to one part boiling water. Stir, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Once cool, transfer to a sealed container and store in the refrigerator where it will keep all summer.

Amanda and Collin’s adorable son Griffin.

See previous summer cocktail recipes, Habanero Maple Vodka Margarita and Rhubarb Shrub.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melora June 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm


I love that you’re writing for Edible! Mmm…charcuterie….

Janelle June 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm


Will definitely try this one! Yummy!!!

amy June 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm


Hi Jessie,
I found a bottle of JimBeam on special offer at the local grocery store today and was reminded of your blog. To be honest, I have never bought a bottle of Jim Beam before, therefore I don’t know if it’s good or not (of course i know JIM BEAM) but the word bourbon was on the label. I made the honey syrup today also and am very curious as to which herbs from my garden I might add to this drink – although we never make drinks around here!!!! But I do know herbs and medicinal plants. Thanks for your wonderful blog.

Chuck Smith June 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm



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