Lavender & Rosemary Lemonade
Updated: May 24
A delightful twist on the classic pick-me-up. For when life gives you lemons - both figuratively & literally.
Citrus is abundant this time of year in Arizona. I've been fortunate enough to be gifted several bags of lemons these past few weeks from friends and co-workers whose trees are full of fruit. I've been loving the brightness they provide to salad dressings and soups.
Since it's starting to warm up here in the Sonoran Desert, I knew I needed to put a substantial dent in my lemon supply this weekend before they start to go bad. So obviously, lemonade making was in order. Plus, you know, when you're living through a global pandemic, that old 'when life gives you lemons' saying certainly comes to mind.
However, I wanted to try something a little different by infusing the syrup with lavender and rosemary. These herbs add a lovely floral note to the lemonade, and lavender and rosemary are particularly well suited for aiding the mixed emotions felt during a pandemic. Fortunately I had both of these plants available at home, so no extra trips to the store were needed. (I suspect many of you won't have dried culinary-grade lavender flowers at home like I did, so feel free to infuse fresh or dried mint, basil, or other herbs instead. Alternatively, you could brew a strong cup of your favorite herbal tea and add this to the final mix. *See note below in recipe.)
Most of us know lavender for it's calming and uplifting properties . In traditional Chinese medicine, lavender is considered a cooling herb. It also can aid in digestion and reduce muscle tension.
Rosemary is one of my favorite members of the mint family. It increases circulation of the blood, especially to the brain, aiding cognition and memory . It can also improve mood and promote better sleep .
5 cups water
1 cup honey (local when possible) or maple syrup
1.5 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5-6 large lemons, or 10 standard size)
1-3 tablespoons dried lavender
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
* If you don't have access to fresh rosemary and/or dried culinary-grade lavender, feel free to experiment with other floral herbs that you might have in your spice cabinet such as dried rosemary or mint. If using only dried herbs, add 2-4 tablespoons per your taste preference. Alternatively, you can brew an extra strong cup of herbal tea to add to the final mixture along with the syrup once it cools. I've used a jasmine and green tea blend in the past that was really yummy. I recommend bringing 1 cup of water to a boil, and then steeping 2-4 tea bags for 30 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water and your preferred sweetener to a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a simmer, add the fresh and/or dried herbs, remove from heat, and cover for 30 minutes. (If you're brewing an herbal tea in place of the lavender and rosemary, go ahead and prepare this now, letting it steep while the syrup cools.)
Roll the lemons on the counter before rinsing and slicing to help extract the juices. Cut in half and juice, discarding the seeds.
Once the syrup has cooled, strain any herbs. Add to a pitcher along with 4 additional cups of water (plus the tea if using). Adjust for flavor as needed, adding extra water or lemon juice to your preference. Serve chilled.
Enjoy the added herbal benefits!
 Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the nervous system.Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:681304. doi:10.1155/2013/681304.
 Andrew Pengelly, James Snow, Simon Y. Mills, Andrew Scholey, Keith Wesnes, and Leah Reeves Butler. Short-Term Study on the Effects of Rosemary on Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population. Journal of Medicinal Food. Jan 2012,10-17, http://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2011.0005.
 Pouya Nematolahi, Mitra Mehrabani, Somayyeh Karami-Mohajeri, Fatemeh Dabaghzadeh. Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on memory performance, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality in university students: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Volume 30, 2018, Pages 24-28, ISSN 1744-3881, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.11.004.