Taken from the book “Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today” by “cocktail whisperer” Warren Bobrow, this summer-fresh cocktail features the lemon-scented herb lemon balm, an easy-to-grow herb related to mint. Used in the production of digestive liqueurs such as amaro, Bénédictine and chartreuse, lemon-balm boasts a long history of being a natural painkiller that relieves tension and stress.
Often used in herbal teas, here it is infused in simple syrup and served on ice with a generous dose of gin, for a “prescriptive” take on the classic gin and tonic.
• 3 ounces botanical gin
• ¼ fresh lime, cut into chunks
• 2 tablespoons lemon balm simple syrup (recipe below)
10-12 torn lemon balm leaves
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of boiling water
• 1 ounce of tonic water
Pack a highball or tall glass with ice; then slowly pour the gin over the ice so it is well chilled. Add the lemon balm simple syrup and mix well. Top it with the tonic water and garnish with a lime chunk or two for an extra spritz of citrus –– it’s sure to clear the head and chase pesky headaches away (when consumed in moderation, of course!).
Lemon Balm Simple Syrup
Make a batch of simple syrup by adding one cup of sugar to one cup of boiling water and mixing until sugar has dissolved. Pour it into a medium-sized bowl, add 10 to 12 torn lemon balm leaves to the mixture and let it cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, place it in the refrigerator, and let the lemon balm steep in the syrup for one to two days. Strain before using.
If desired, add up to two ounces of botanical gin as a preservative and keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.