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Green Thumb Cocktail With Lemon Verbena

Fresh lemon verbena gives a citrus zing to this cocktail. The sugar-coated rim on the cocktail glass makes it even more special.

holding a bunch of lemon verbena

Photo: WFIU Staff

Chef Daniel Orr is making a lemon verbena simple syrup to add to this cocktail.

Many of my cocktails begin with a simple syrup, and this one is no different.

A simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water. You can flavor the syrup by adding any number of different herbs, including rosemary, lavender, sage and (our herb of choice today) lemon verbena. To enhance the lemon taste, I’m throwing in a few slices of lemon peel as well.

You can make a big batch of simple syrup and drizzle it on fruit, use it as poaching liquid or mix it into cocktails.

Green Thumb Cocktail With Lemon Verbena


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 sprigs lemon verbena
  • several slices lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce lemon verbena syrup
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Cooking Directions

  1. To make the simple syrup, soak the lemon verbena and lemon peel in the sugar water and let it come to a boil. Let the herbs simmer in the water for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Combine spirits, lemon juice and verbena syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add 4-5 ice cubes and shake vigorously until the shaker is cold.
  3. Put a sprig of lemon verbena at the bottom of a chilled martini glass. Pour the cocktail into the glass and enjoy!

To make this cocktail that much more special, rim the glass with lemon sugar! You start by making lemon candy, which is tasty on its own.

Lemon Candy (For Rimming A Cocktail Glass)


  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon

Cooking Directions

  1. In a food processor, grind the sugar and lemon zest.
  2. Place the lemon sugar on a baking sheet and bake in a 275-degree oven for 10-15 minutes. (The goal here is to simply dry out the lemon sugar.) The lemon sugar will likely form large chunks.
  3. To prepare the lemon sugar for rimming a cocktail glass, place it in a plastic bag and smash into a powder. Spread the powder onto a plate.
  4. Run a fresh lemon peel around the rim of a chilled cocktail glass. Then, turn the glass over into the lemon sugar powder. Rotate until the rim is completely covered.

Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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