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Food

The Garden Varie-Tea

Cocktail by Clayton Crawford. Photo by Holden Rhodes.

Whether you’re growing rosemary in a window box, running an amateur plant nursery out of your apartment, or making your first attempt at growing anything at all, Spring is an exciting season. Those first few green stems sprouting from the ground hold the promise of renewal. Even if you’re like me and don’t have a green thumb on either hand, you can still enjoy the sudden swell of fresh fruit at the farmer’s market. This cocktail is perfect for late afternoons when the gardening chores have ended, and the days are long and full of light.

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I first made this cocktail while visiting family in the Texas hill country between Austin and San Antonio. Out there rosemary grows like a weed, and Tito’s is easy to find. I didn’t have to go further than my green-thumbed family’s front door, to find the ingredients to make this delicious cocktail. Green tea is packed with enough caffeine to revive you as the day turns into evening, and the vodka is the perfect thing to help you unwind after battling daffodils all day. The lime juice gives this cocktail a pleasant tartness, while the rosemary simple syrup celebrates the fresh taste of Spring.

Cocktail by Clayton Crawford. Photo by Holden Rhodes.

Garden Varie-Tea

Prep Time: 5 min

Ingredients

  • 2 OZ. GOOD VODKA (LIKE TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA)
  • 2 OZ. GREEN TEA CONCENTRATE (SEE PRO TIPS)
  • 1 OZ. LIME JUICE
  • 0.5 OZ. ROSEMARY SIMPLE SYRUP (SEE PRO TIPS OR SUBSTITUTE A TEASPOON OF SUGAR)
  • 1 BOTTLE OF SPARKLING WATER (OR USE LESS FOR A STRONGER COCKTAIL)

Garnish

  • ROSEMARY SPRIG 
  • CUCUMBER SLICE (OPTIONAL)

Directions

Pro Tips

  • Green Tea concentrates are essentially very strong green teas. You can purchase them, but I prefer to make them myself. To do this, I add two teabags or two servings of loose tea (4 grams) to 1 cup of near-boiling water. It’s important not to boil the tea, as that will scorch the green tea leaves, once you get close to a rolling boil, take the water off the heat and start steeping. After 5-7 minutes, remove tea bags or strain the leaves, and you are left with a green tea concentrate that can be refrigerated and stored for two weeks.
  • Rosemary simple syrup is a relatively simple syrup (see what I did there) made from combining two parts sugar to one part water (ex. 1 cup of sugar to ½ cup of water or 2 cups of sugar to one cup of water) and the leaves from two-three sprigs of rosemary and heating the mixture over medium heat. Stir occasionally and set aside for 5-10 minutes, then strain out the leaves and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Cocktail by Clayton Crawford. Photo by Holden Rhodes.

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