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!
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.