When I tucked my little lemon balm plant into our overfull cart of verdant babies back in early spring, I had no idea what I would use it’s fragrant leaves for or in, but I just knew I had to take it home.
Fast-forward several months to our present day and my tiny herb garden still has not realized that it’s care-taker is void of green thumbs but is overflowing thanks to equal parts rain and luck.
Besides acting as a natural potpourri, lemon balm has been muddled into countless pitchers of water for lazy infusions and tossed into fruit salads for a little extra something. It’s flavor is floral, citrusy, and pleasingly delicate so it lends itself best to fresh and simple applications.
Being the mocktail freak that I am, I knew that one of those applications would be simple syrup.
If you have a lemon balm plant just waiting to be trimmed and enjoyed, this limeade is ready to be your go-to mocktail all summer long. If you do not have a lemon balm plant, get on that business; you won’t regret it.
We begin by making a floral, faintly citrusy simple syrup with sugar, water, and lemon balm.
I like to muddle the sugar and lemon balm using a fork or potato masher before adding the water. This just gives the herbs a head-start on releasing all of those flavorful oils.
After the mixture has simmered its way into a clear syrup, allow it to cool whilst you juice a whole bunch of limes.
A reamer is a really nice tool to have here. Your hands will thank you. Trust me on this.
After the syrup has cooled and the limes have lended you every last drop of their juice, we can stir together this ultra refreshing limeade.
This color makes me SO happy. So summery.
Pour over lots of crushed ice and garnish with more lemon balm, because you’re fancy.
I took a chance on lemon balm and it gave me my new go-to company drink.
Keep a pitcher of this brightening tonic in your fridge all summer long and your drop-in friends will think you are a real-life Ina Garten.
Not that she isn’t real, but…is she really?
This almost makes me thankful for the torrid heat and humidity. Almost.
Lemon Balm Limeade
makes 1.5 quarts
2 cups fresh lemon balm leaves, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups filtered water, divided
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
Place lemon balm and granulated sugar into a 2-quart saucepan and use the tines of a fork to smash the lemon balm into the sugar. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water over the mixture and set the saucepan over medium high heat.
Stir constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is simmering.
Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
In a medium pitcher, stir together remaining 2 cups of water and fresh lime juice.
Strain the cooled syrup through a fine mesh strainer and whisk the syrup into the pitcher.
Pour over ice or refrigerate until ready to serve.