Rosemary is not only for remembrance

Giant rosemary (and geranium!) on the balcony above me.

Whoever lives above me has large rosemary and geranium plants on their balcony. I often find that red geranium petals or small white rosemary flower petals have drifted onto my balcony, but this morning I found a sizable branch of rosemary, obviously torn from the plant. The mystery, though, is how it ended up on my balcony! Perhaps a flying fox or a cockatoo was too enthusiastic?

Broken branch of rosemary on my balcony this morning. You can see the torn branch end on the left.

What to do with this unlooked-for bounty? I’m a vegetarian, so although I believe rosemary is often paired with meat, that’s not what I would do. However … many months ago I had a marvellous rosemary-flavoured gin cocktail in a bar, which sent me straight to Google for more information. The secret is to make a ‘simple syrup’ using the leaves.

Strip off the leaves (wash thoroughly first!).

The recipe I found called for 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of leaves; bring to boil, simmer one minute, steep for 30 minutes, and strain. I found that far too sweet and far too faintly flavoured, so this time I used 3/4 cup of sugar and I steeped the syrup for an hour before straining.

1 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup rosemary leaves.

Here’s what you get.

The result: rosemary syrup.

The recipe said the syrup can be used to in sorbets, cake glazing, lemonade — or a cocktail. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how I use it. 🙂

Rosemary Gin Gimlet

Rosemary Gin Gimlet
2 oz gin
0.5 oz rosemary syrup
0.5 oz fresh lime juice

Shake with lots of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Feel free to experiment with the proportions (in making both the syrup and the gimlet) until you get what you like. The drink works well with lemon juice, too, and the syrup recipe also recommends using a mix of basil and lemon verbana rather than rosemary.

17 thoughts on “Rosemary is not only for remembrance

  1. Yum. We’ve been talking about buying a small still and making gin. One of the things I want to experiment with is adding rosemary, so it’s interesting to hear there’s a cocktail that uses the syrup.
    Rosemary is also great with potatoes, and with feta (especially in scones!)


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