The story of this cocktail (highball, technically) begins at Montreal’s Macaroni Bar, where the PhoBlograpHusband and I have parked our kiesters atop bar stools recently (although mine barely fits nowadays) because that’s now where Tao and Tony work. They’re pretty much given free rein behind the bar there, creatively speaking, so long as they also keep up with customer demand for vodka sodas and pitchers of sangria.
Speaking of pitcher drinks, the last time we were there, Tony told us about some summertime refreshers he’s been tinkering with, including a fresh lemonade made with a rosemary-infused simple syrup. He let us try some, and upon first sip, I was awash in an aura of complete summertime relaxation spiked with my ever-bubbling-near-the-surface total jealousy. How had I never thought of rosemary lemonade myself?
Sean encouraged me to do Tony’s rosemary lemonade as a blog post, but I meant it when I told y’all that this blog isn’t going mocktail just because I’m pregnant, and second, that’s a lot of lemons to juice. So then what entered the picture was a gift we’d received for Christmas and, I’m shame-faced to say, hadn’t yet put to use: A fruit infuser pitcher, aka a “pitcher with flavor infuser.” (Sean’s Aunt Carrie and Uncle Tommy always give us the best bartender Christmas gifts; hi, Aunt Carrie and Uncle Tommy!)
This pitcher gizmo corrals your sliced-up fruit/veggies/herbs/what have you down the center of the pitcher instead of letting them float all willy-nilly on their own. I’m not sure how overall effective that is but it sure is fun to play with. And speaking of fun to play with, the best thing I could think to do to a pitcher of lemon and rosemary-infused water was to carbonate it with our trusty Sodastream. We are now talking refreshing, dry and crisp variety, turned up to 11.
(Science question: How come when I carbonate a lemon-spiked water, it seems get much, much fizzier than if I had carbonated the same amount of plain water? Is the acidity of the lemon doing something in there?)
Such a mixer will easily pair with your clear, aromatic spirit of choice: gin, eau de vie, or in the case of the Fizzbite, NY-state grappa distilled from Gewurtztraminer grapes. Sean actually found the Fizzbite too bitey, but I loved the parade of sting–>grappa’s sour apple notes–>more seltzer-y sting–>lemon tartness–>rosemary essence marching down my gullet.
1 1/2 ounces Finger Lakes Distilling Grappa
Lemon-rosemary club soda, to fill
Lemon wheel and rosemary sprig, to garnish
Fill your highball glass of choice with ice. Pour in grappa. Fill with club soda and garnish.
FYI, we infused the plain water for a week-ish before carbonating, although we could’ve stopped at half that. When carbonated, the rosemary-lemon soda water took on an almost peachy-pink tone. I don’t know why… science question? Tastes fine, though, I am still drinking and enjoying the soda water straight.