Lemon Verbena and Thyme Soda Syrup, and Sorbet too!

Our herb garden is growing like weeds.  Well, truth be told, the weeds are also growing like weeds.  But between the weeds are fragrant, mystical herbs, that are spicing up meals and will also shortly be hoarded away in ziplocks in the freezer for less bountiful months.

My favorite herb is lemon verbena.  It smells like something that should come from a much more tropical locale--even the plant, with its woody stems and slender leaves, looks rainforesty.  Rubbing your fingers on one of the leaves, as I do at the start of many days, is an instant antidepressant.  Bright, intensely fragrant, with an aroma and flavor that is distinctly the sweeter side of citrus.  Too much and it can make a dish taste like bad perfume, in the right amounts it is transporting.

My husband's favorite herb is thyme.  It definitely stems (pun intended) from his early childhood-rooted love affair with weekly roast chickens.  He painstakingly freezes bunch upon bunch of this savory treasure and stuffs several sprigs under the skin of our weekly roast chickens through the year--as well as it being used in our homemade soups and beloved stocks.

So this recipe is a love letter to our favorite herbs.  Citrus and thyme marry beautifully, fortunately for us, and both herbs are in great abundance now and for the next couple of months in gardens and markets.  A not-too-sweet aromatic addition to sodas and cocktails, and a refreshing palate cleanser when spun into a sorbet or scraped into a granita.  Try any of the above with a few fresh berries, oh my.


Lemon Verbena and Thyme Syrup
by Catie Schwalb

makes approximately 1 3/4 cups.

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
10 large lemon verbena leaves
8 generous thyme sprigs

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a gentle boil, just until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear.

Turn off heat and allow herbs to infuse the liquid and the syrup to cool, for about an hour.

Strain and keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.


Lemon Verbena and Thyme Soda

1 part lemon verbena and thyme syrup (recipe above)
4-5 parts seltzer water, to taste (make your own!)

Garnish with additional muddled herb sprigs, if desired.


Lemon Verbena and Thyme Sorbet

makes about 1 pint.

Thoroughly chill the lemon verbena and thyme syrup (recipe above).  Process in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's directions.  Transfer to a freezer-safe container, drape the top surface with plastic wrap and then cover with the lid.  Freeze for at least an hour before serving.

Garnish with additional herb springs, fresh fruit, or crumbled shortbread.


Lemon Verbena and Thyme Martini

Combine in a cocktail shaker:
2 parts lemon verbena and thyme syrup
3 parts vodka

Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with additional herb sprigs or a twist of lemon.


3 responses to “Lemon Verbena and Thyme Soda Syrup, and Sorbet too!”

  1. Hi! I found your blog today thanks to your beautiful photo on Foodgawker. I simply adore lemon verbena and also love thyme. I really love how you said this was a love letter to your favorite herbs. 🙂 And I am loving all of the things you can do with this syrup. I am going to try it soon!

  2. […] we do have garlic scapes!  And herbs!  Lots of […]

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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