I am a tea drinker by excellence, but mostly herbs and green teas. Lemon Verbena is my all time favourite because of the aroma of citrus it gives to drinks.
When they started to grow this spring, I cut some very tender leaves from the garden but they never made it to the teapot. Instead I just put them in a jar with cold water to drink and kept refilling the jar - the scent and taste were amazing, like for days. - Maria Teresa Jorge
Then, a few weeks later I used it to infuse milk for a dessert recipe, and then with strawberries to make strawberry syrup for my granddaughter to have with water for tea. I normally use plain water but Food52 is always surprising me with ideas and why not with lemon soda, Tonic water or just carbonated water instead. I would even dare to pick it up with Champagne for a special brunch!
—Maria Teresa Jorge
Test Kitchen Notes
I love strawberries in any form and this is a refreshing one. The addition of lemon verbena is wonderful and adds a citrus undertone and aroma. The lemon verbena syrup would be delightful in other summer drinks, as well. I served the strawberry mixture with Pellegrino but look forward to trying Maria Teresa's suggestion to add Champagne at a summer brunch. - BlueKaleRoad —BlueKaleRoad
Bring the water and sugar to a boil until all the sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat, add the fresh Verbena leaves and simmer for 5 minutes.
Wash and clean the strawberries. Put them in a blender with the lemon juice and hot syrup(remove verbena leaves temporarily) and purée until very smooth. Sieve pressing on the strawberry purée to obtain a clean red pulp.
Add the verbena leaves again to the strawberry purée and allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge.
To serve: pour over ice and add lemon soda or carbonated water.
For a kick I would go with a dash of rhum, what do you think?
Got extra fresh lemon verbena to use? Check out my recipe for icecubes with herbs so you can use them all year round.