Monday Mixology: Lemon Balmer
On Mondays, I do my grocery shopping for the week and I like to write up a Monday Mixology post. Honestly, who doesn't need a drink on Monday?
I usually mix something up in the afternoon and then write up the recipe while I drink it. I would imagine if I look through the archives, the stiffest drinks likely include posts with the wittiest writing (or most typos). This one is not a strong drink, though, so I'm enjoying my drink at noon without a worry.
This morning, I found this cute little lemon balm plant sneaking up out of the ground in my garden. I planted the seeds this summer, and the plants grew and then didn't do great and died. It's right next to my mint, which hasn't faded, even through winter, so I thought maybe this just isn't a good spot for lemon balm and I forgot about it. But it's back, and I'm so pleased. Lemon balm has a citrus-y flavor, like the name implies, but is also very herbaceous, almost like a citronella. It grew wild all along the river at my grandfather's, and I associate the smell and flavor with calm, summer, and joy. I love lemon balm essential oil, and use it especially when my anxiety is going a little haywire. Why not mix it with booze, right?
When we moved to Texas a few years ago, I was introduced to the "Arnold Palmer" at a fancy movie theater and pub we used to go to. If I didn't want booze (?!?!?!), I'd get soda sometimes, but I don't really like soda. So one day, my husband suggested I get an "Arnold Palmer." It sounded like an alcoholic drink, and said I wasn't feeling it, but he explained that it's just equal parts iced tea and lemonade. I loved it. In the south, everywhere you go has iced tea (usually already sweetened) and they all know what an Arnold Palmer is, so that became my non-alcoholic drink of choice. Once I discovered Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, an alcoholic version became my favorite. For a really strong drink, you can mix sweet tea vodka and lemon vodka and just pass out.
Anyway, I was thinking about my Monday Mixology and my lemon balm and saw my Lemon Balm tea out on the counter, and the Lemon Balmer was born.
Start with a STRONG tea. I used two bags of lemon balm tea (herbal infusion, I know) in one cup hot water and let it steep a half hour or so, until the tea is mostly room temp.
Pour your cooled strong lemon balm tea over about 1 cup ice and add 2 cups apple cider. I chose a nice tart Crispin apple cider brewed with maple syrup, and it was very nice. Via Barnivore, all Crispin's ciders are vegan unless they specify on the label that they use honey (they are very clearly labeled and I appreciate the transparency). I topped with a few lemon balm leaves because I had them, but that's purely optional.
How do you fit that much in one cup? Obviously you need these gorgeous green glass mason jars like I have.
Today isn't so much mixology as fancy serving, but it's still the perfect afternoon cocktail. Gingeroo was something I discovered when we moved to Louisiana and is probably not available elsewhere, so for the purpose of giving all my readers the option to try this, you could use a quality ginger ale, like Reeds,and a shot or two of rum. If you can get Gingeroo, though, try it!
Gingeroo is made with ginger juice, Louisiana cane sugar, and New Orleans Crystal rum. It's fizzy and boozy and is perfect poured over ice with some fresh mint!
its also fun to use this in place of ginger ale in a Moscow Mule with an extra kick!
Full disclosure, I'm half way through drinking this while I write, and I'm still not even sure I like it. I think I do, though. It's weird.
About a week ago I saw a recipe for fermented tomatoes on Facebook, and someone had commented, "Oh, those are great for making Bloody Marys, but they are fizzy."
Fizzy Bloody Mary. Fizzy Bloody Mary. It's just been hanging out in my semi-consciousness taunting me. It seemed like a good idea for a LaCroixcktail (not sponsored). So I tried it. And I *think* I like it.
Fizzy Bloody Mary... Still a bit weird to get past.
1 Tbsp tomato paste*
1 medium size tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
Juice of 1 lemon
splash of Pepperocini or green olive juice (optional)
several dashes hot sauce (just shake it til you make it)
several dashes celery salt
Blend all these things until they are thick and liquid.
Pour over some ice (in a salted glass if that's your bag).
Add 2 oz vodka and top off glass with lime or lemon La Croix Sparkling water
*When I open a can/jar of tomato paste, I put all my extra in a plastic bag and squeeze it into little portions by pressing the bag together in between each glob. Then I freeze it. That way I have about a Tbsp of tomato paste easily available when needed. Otherwise the jar goes bad in the fridge after I've used the Tbsp that whatever recipe calls for.
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
Order your copy here today!
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I love cooking and playing in the kitchen with my toys, so let me share that joy with you and your family to bring the FUN back into the kitchen!