The Southern Spell: a Nettle, Sorghum, and Bourbon Cocktail

By Beth Kirby | {local milk}
April 25, 2014
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Author Notes: A Southern staple: good bourbon mingles with spicy ginger beer, a hit of lemon and mint, and a homemade, blood-building nettle simple syrup with an unexpected complexity.Beth Kirby | {local milk}

Makes: 1 cup of syrup

Nettle Sorghum Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sorghum syrup
  • 2 cups stinging nettles
  • juice of half a lemon
  1. To make the simple syrup, combine the water, sugar, and sorghum syrup in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high, stirring frequently, until all the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture comes to a boil, remove from the heat and dump in the nettle leaves (be careful to not touch them -- they will sting you when they're uncooked).
  2. Let the mixture steep for at least half an hour. Sometimes I refrigerate mine and let it steep over night for maximum nettle flavor and health benefits. When the syrup’s finished steeping, strain it into a clean bottle, add the juice of half a lemon, and store in the fridge. Use the syrup within a couple of months.

Southern Spell

  • 1.5 ounces good bourbon, like Bulleit
  • 1.5 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1.5 tablespoons nettle sorghum syrup
  • good ginger beer
  • a handful of mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • cooked nettle leaves, for garnish
  1. Combine the sugar and mint using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Dip a high ball glass or a mason jar in lemon juice, then dip it into the mint sugar. Fill the glass with ice.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice. Shake throughly and pour over ice.
  3. Top with a nice, spicy ginger beer and garnish with a (cooked) nettle leaf.

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