I have found my drink of summer, people. After 4 years of growing a wily bush of lemon verbena with the intention of at some point using it, I think I’m on the verge of becoming verbena-obsessed.
See I planted it 4 years ago because I read a recipe somewhere for white peaches in lemon verbena simple syrup (to pour over vanilla ice cream, of course). Funny how you remember such things. But have I made that recipe? No, of course not. In fact, the poor verbena has been largely neglected since planting. But it turns out to be practically a weed that comes back stronger every year, even when in winter it’s just a tiny woody stump.
Yesterday, at the suggestion of our nanny Gloria, I decided to hack off a few branches and pour boiling water over them to make tea. Is this a known thing? It seemed so obvious after the fact. In Mexico they apparently drink this iced tea when it’s really hot out and Gloria wanted to take some to the park for Dashiell. Um, hello hidden gem of Mexico!
You guys, it’s so delicious. It’s sort of gingery and ever so slightly sweet. Not really lemony at all. Just divine, poured over ice after steeping for a few hours.
I think you could mix in a teensy bit of honey when it’s hot too. Or even a few sprigs of mint. I tried it with a lemon wedge, but decided after the fact (and after taking photos) that I prefer it on it’s own.
And the best thing is that you can either grow it yourself with very minimal effort, or because it really must be a weed, buy huge bunches of it at the farmer’s market for only a few dollars. I’ve always seen those bunches and been like “what could one possibly do with so much verbena!”. Make delicious iced tea for the week, to start. I’m just about to go on a verbena binge, I can tell.
So I’ll report back with more ideas.
Starting with that original recipe for peaches in syrup, of course. Also thinking it would make a lovely addition to popsicles and cocktails. But do start with the tea. It’s so so good.