Melting: Spring Verbena Cachaça Fizz
It's bloody sweltering outside in Sacramento. You know those scenes in cop dramas where the bad cop shoves the solitary desk lamp into the convicted's face hoping the blazing white light will sear out a confession? It's similar; only, instead, the lamp the sun. Brilliant and oppressive. It's so hot the heat is giving the streets a chatoyant brilliance that makes the whole world blinding, sunglasses be damned.
I know some will be at the nearby river soaking up the cancer, splashing in cool water, and drinking beers as they bob about in their floaties. My Scottish-slash-Canadian heritage ensures only freckles or burning for me. Plus, any more than four inches deep and the current picks up and carries off the corgi. So, instead, I'm bonding with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda on Netflix in a dark room with the ceiling fan set to monsoon.
Chrissakes, it's May. Why is it 92F in May? I would run the electric air, but its so pricey these days that it isn't worth it until we eek over 95F.
I have developed a plan: cold drinks with plenty of ice, and get myself properly mowed. Original? No. But solid.
Cucumber. Lemon. Lemon Verbena. Celery bitters for savory's sake. A little fizz for fun. I have some cachaça on hand, and while its smoky roughness generally isn't quite my swag it helps put all of those prettier flavors in their place. (If you aren't familiar with cachaça, then get your learn on here and read an article about it some time back.)
It's a sweet drink with a subtle, but stinging slap in the face (oh, yum) to put a bit of verve back into you.
Survive as best you can. This summer will likely destroy us all.
Also: Would simply lay about the house naked but, sadly, Roommate. He's terribly sweet and raised blissfully sheltered, so I'm afraid open nudity would break the poor thing. Shame.
Spring Verbena Cachaça Fizz
Lemon verbena is a pretty intense herb. Lemony, floral, grassy, a sense of mint and basil about it. It's refreshing. Sweet. Girls, let's cool down with this. As a syrup it's great to keep on hand if your heart pumps iced tea the way mine does.
The herbal flavor of this cocktail is a curious if not pleasant pairing with the smoky cachaça and mellow cucumber. Layers on layers. More layers than a cake.
Can you handle the layers? Yes. You can.
What You'll Need:
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 5 or 6 slices of cucumber (preferably English cucumbers)
- 1 1/2 ounces cachaça or rum (I prefer Novo Fogo cachaça)
- 3/4 ounce lemon verbena syrup (see below)
- celery bitters
- soda water
- lemon verbena for garnish (optional)
What You'll Do:
Place the lemon and cucumber in a shaker and muddle vigorously. Like, super vigorous. Get a work out in muddling this to release all the cucumber juices. Add the booze, a splash or two of bitters, some ice, and the lemon verbena syrup and shake. Double strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with soda water. Add lemon verbena for garnish and serve.
Lemon Verbena Syrup
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 5 or 6 leafy sprigs of lemon verbena
- a few sprigs of lemon thyme (optional)
What You'll Do:
Place the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes then take off the heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain into a container and place in the fridge. It'll keep for a few months. Excellent in iced tea, gin cocktail, or adding to sorbet recipes. Or just drizzle it over your bits and get someone pretty to lick it off. It's all good.