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As well as making teas, herbs find their way into any number of refreshing beverages. There is, obviously, fresh mint in the famous Mint Julep, while borage flowers brighten the equally famous Pimms. So maybe it pays to look ‘sideways' at our traditional drinks and see how additions from the herb garden can change their style and character.
Adding herbs to lemonade turns a traditional summer drink into something sublime and sophisticated. Make a standard lemonade base (chop 4 lemons, steep in one liter of boiling water for 10 minutes, strain and add tablespoons of sugar) and add sprigs of herbs to it. Lemon balm goes well, as does basil, mint or thyme. Leave the herbs to infuse until the lemonade base is cool. Mix lemonade base with sparkling water. Add ice and an extra sprig of herb to serve.
Fruit juices can also be varied through an addition of herbs. Adding a sprig of fresh mint to apple juice, before serving with ice and sparkling water, produces a very refreshing drink. But if you warm the apple juice with dried orange peel and cinnamon instead, you end up with a fragrant, warming concoction that is not out of place at a Christmas party.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|