When we were in Budapest this summer, we were introduced to an incredible drink called the Rosemary Lavender Lemonade. It was non-alcoholic but intoxicating nevertheless.
None of us had ever really given consideration to rosemary in our previous beverage endeavors so we decided to do a little bit of research, and it turns out that rosemary has a misplaced history of known health benefits, lost in our day of the Keto diet and Cross Fit; as well as some practical and magical applications.
Health Benefits: This ancient Mediterranean herb has been considered for centuries to have positive effects on memory function (a great compliment to the effects of the cocktail). Rosemary, and particularly its flower tops, contains antibacterial and antioxidant rosmarinic acid, plus several essential oils known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. We read anecdotes of studies testing rosemary’s effects on memory but as the integrity of these studies seems questionable, the results were less interesting to us as than the fact that the control group was given lavender as a placebo. Destiny.
Practical Magic: Rosemary also had a role in the mystical culture of Medieval Europe. Likely misdirected causation, there existed a belief that this special herb grew only in the gardens of the righteous, and it was placed in the heads of walking sticks in order to protect those honorable men from the plague. More practical uses include its infusion in hair rinse to add shine to dark hair and soothe an itchy scalp of any color, as well as in tea to ease a headache. Magical applications include protection, wisdom, and healing.
Over the course of the night we extracted the Rosemary Lavender Lemonade recipe from our busy waiter and we want to do 2 things: add alcohol to the recipe and share it with you.
Rosemary Lavender Lemonade:
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ¼ cups water,
- 2-3 lemons (enough for ¼ cup of freshly-squeezed lemon juice)
- 2 tbsps of honey
- 3-inch sprigs of rosemary
- 1 tsp dried lavender
- small to large splash of gin (also known as ‘gin to taste’ - no judgment)
- To create a simple syrup, combine the sugar and the water in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then add the rosemary sprigs and dried lavender. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow it to seep for half hour.
- Juice the lemons so that you have ¼ cup of lemon juice.
- Strain the rosemary and lavender from the simple syrup. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice, honey and water into a large pitcher. Add a few tablespoons of sugar to make it sweeter, or juice to make it more sour.
- Serve over ice