October is one of the busiest months for me. Well, make that August, September and October. Harvest time in the Northeast starts in August and doesn’t end until past Halloween (I won’t even begin to really harvest my pears until November!). Usually this means just cutting down and picking the wonderful veggies and apples and putting them up via canning, drying, and freezing, but sometimes this also means transplanting.
One such example is with my herbs. While herbs seem to be the most delicate offering in most gardens (the lambs-ear soft sage, the frilly fronds of dill, parsley and cilantro), many are actually perennials that will pop up again come spring even after the harshest winters. Usually I’ll just cut down herbs and spices and hang them in my butler’s pantry to dry, then put them into airtight storage jars. But not rosemary. Being that it seems to be my go-to herb (great on potatoes, meat, in soups and stews, and as a flavorful addition to sauces), I worry too much that the rosemary plants I cultivated from seed won’t last through the winter, and that whatever fresh offering I find in the market won’t be nearly as wonderful as what I’ve grown myself (and who are we kidding? Everything tastes better when you grow it or make it yourself). So I dig it up and put it in pots to live on my kitchen windowsill instead. It brings aroma and freshness to the dark days of winter and helps me to concentrate when I’m having a hard time focusing on work. Here’s a quick list of perennial herbs to consider planting and bringing indoors come winter:
I also have a soft spot in my heart for Rosemary because it’s a stellar (and often unexpected) addition to cocktails. Having a party? Put your pot of rosemary next to your makeshift bar and encourage guests to muddle a sprig into their drinks. It adds a fresh spin on classics like the Tom Collins. So, let me then introduce you to Tom’s younger, hipper sister, Rosie. Rosie (like her bro) relies on lemons and a little soda to perk up that stodgy old Gin; however, she adds a little flair with the addition of rosemary in two form. Take Rosie out some night and see what all the boys are talking about, would ya?
Makes One Cocktail
2 oz. dry Gin
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. rosemary-infused simple syrup (see note)
Sprig of rosemary
Fill a Collins glass three quarters of the way full with quality ice. Add gin (I am partial to Brokers, though you could try a local option, too), lemon, and simple syrup. Stir to combine. Top with club soda and garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Enjoy!
To make rosemary-infused simple syrup, combine 1/4 c water with 1/4 cup white sugar in a small saucepan. Remove the leaves from a sprig of rosemary and roughly chop to release oils. Add to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for three minutes. Allow to cool. Strain. Makes enough for four cocktails (or keep in the fridge for one month).
This post is dedicated to my pal, The Profussor, who likes to lovingly remind me of the place of lemons in cocktails :-)