Hey Cocktail Lovers! So over on Periscope (you must be into it by now), I’ve been hanging out on a Friday afternoon making cocktails.
#CocktailFriday is now a thing so I really want to start sharing it with you all here too. To join in, just download Periscope free from the App store (also on Android now too!), look me up on my personal account. It’s @VictoriaJamesUK and on Fridays at 3pm London time, we make a couple of cocktails and try to incorporate delicious ideas to take your home made cocktails to a whole other level. Don’t worry too much of you miss it, the replay is up for 24 hours on my profile but I’ll run through the steps here with you after we close the scope down.
This week I wanted to use some of the things I’ve been growing in the new herb garden chest of drawers, so the inspiration lays squarely with the lemon verbena. It’s so yummy, and frankly, I can’t really cook so what else could I make with it other than cocktails?!
The first one could be used either as afternoon tea, or as a nightcap and it is . . .
Verbena & Elderflower Tisane
This is such a simple recipe and could be used with pretty much any herb & spirit combination as long as the flavours compliment each other – mint and vodka would be spot on.
A tisane (tih-zahn) is the proper name for infusions of herbs and spices – anything that doesn’t include tea leaves is considered a tisane, so all herbal teas are technically considered as such.
This tisane made with lemon verbena, or lemon balm is the perfect way to round off a breezy evening of drinks and it is as refreshing as it is warming.
What you will need:
- 1 -2 handfuls of lemon verbena (or lemon balm)
- St Germain elderflower liqueur
- Hot (but not boiling) water
- a teapot
- a beautiful teacup
How you make it:
- Pick 1-2 handfuls of lemon verbena or lemon balm, the stems may also be used. Place them in a teapot.
- Boil some freshly drawn water and let cool slightly – you want the water to be around 80ºC, so the same as you would use in your French press, or on green tea (if the water is too hot, you would cook the leaves leaving a grassy taste).
- Let steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Add half a shot of St Germain elderflower liqueur to each cup and pour the tea. If you would prefer to keep it soft, you could drink it straight or with some elderflower cordial, such as Belvoir.
- The leaves could take a top-up of water if you like.
- Sit back, take in the soft aroma and enjoy this delicate tea.
My second drink this week is . . .
Verbena & Elderflower Fizz
This refreshing drink is super simple to make and is the perfect summer day cocktail. The syrup fusion is the only preparation you need, but it is so quick and easy, I actually did it while having breakfast so it could chill it in the fridge for use over the weekend. It will keep for a few days and it adds a whole other level to the flavours in this drink.
What you will need:
- A small handful of lemon verbena leaves (no stems)
- 1 shot Lemon verbena simple syrup (recipe below) You will need 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves
- 1 shot gin – I like Tanqueray Ten for this one
- 1/2 shot St Germain elderflower liqueur
- Soda water to top
- Crushed ice
- Tall glass
How you make Lemon verbena simple syrup:
- Take 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 a cup of sugar, put in a saucepan on a gentle heat.
- Stir gently to dissolve.
- Allow to simmer for just a couple of minutes, but do not allow to boil.
- Bash up and chop 1/4 cup of lemon verbena leaves.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in the lemon verbena leaves.
- Allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
- Strain into a small bottle and keep in the fridge.
How to make the cocktail:
- Fill your glass with crushed ice and top with the verbena leaves.
- Muddle them together well to release the oils and flavour from the leaves into the ice.
- Pour in your St Germain elderflower liqueur, gin and syrup.
- Give it a stir.
- Top with soda.
- Garnish with a few verbena leaves.
- Sip in the sunshine and enjoy!