Before addressing our bountiful lemon balm, I grabbed bunches of the happy herb for a refreshing batch of Honey Lemon Balm Spritzers, adapted from a recipe I found last August in Bon Appetit.
The ingredients are simple, although, around here, lemon balm is a little difficult to find in grocery stores. But, not all is lost! Grow some of your own—in a pot of course! Learn from my mistake on that one, please. Also try substituting mint, for a minty lemonade that’s sure to put a spring back in your step on a hot summer’s day.
A little mixing, muddling, and waiting is all that’s required. And it can easily be made ahead, with the sparkling water being added when served.
The recipe below is for a non-alcoholic version, but for an adult version, add an ounce (or more) of whatever light liquor tickles your fancy to each drink.
Using fresh herbs in beverages is always a nice change of pace. Do you have any favorite summer beverages that use fresh herbs to share? Please do. I’ve still got a patch of lemon balm, along with many other herbs, that I’m looking for creative ways to use.
Enjoy! And drink happily, but responsibly.
Adapted from Bon Appetit August 2011.
- 1/2 cup honey (orange blossom or other citrus blossom honey is nice for this recipe)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (or combination of the two)
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup lemon balm, lightly packed (substitute mint leaves for a minty version)
- lime or lemon slices
- 2 cups cold sparkling water
- optional: 1 ounce/per serving of light liquor (rum, gin, or St. Germain to name a few)
- In a large pitcher, mix honey and warm water until honey combined.
- Add lime/lemon juice, and 1 cup cold water. Mix well.
- Crush lemon balm and add to mixture. Using a muddle or wooden spoon handle, smash lemon balm in bottom of pitcher. Add lime/lemon slices and refrigerate mixture until chilled (about an hour).
- Once chilled, add 2 cups of cold sparkling water. Stir.
- Pour through a strainer into individual glasses over crushed ice.
- Garnish beverages with lemon balm leaves and citrus slices
- For alcoholic version, stir in 1 oz. of light liquor to each glass.