Sunday, February 23, 2014

If you've got the Vodka, I've got the Thyme

I am not a huge fan of thyme as a culinary herb.  I will occasionally add thyme to my spaghetti sauce, but that's about it.  I love, however, planting it in the garden.  Woolly, Creeping Red and Lemon Thyme are all great ground covers that provides color, fragrance and can be tough against foot traffic.

Creeping Red Thyme as an informal border.

I came home from the Northwest Flower & Garden Show with a 'handful' (I'm using this term lightly) of plant material, including this beauty (shown below). Planning to attend our dinner group this weekend, I decided that it was about thyme to give this herb another try.

Thymus citriodorus 'Archer's Gold' from Little Prince of Oregon Nursery

'Archer's Gold' Thyme has a slight lemony scent, so I was fairly confident that it would be a good addition to the homemade limoncello I wanted to make.  If it didn't, I was just fine with planting this golden beauty in my garden.

Thymus citriodorus 'Archer's Gold'
  • Perennial Zones 5-9
  • Full Sun - Partial Shade
  • Attracts honeybees
  • Pale purple flowers in Spring
  • Height 6"-8"

As I have mentioned before, I rarely make cocktails one at a time in a shaker. I prefer making cocktails in a pitcher so that I am not shaking drinks in the kitchen all night. I like to enjoy a good cocktail with friends just like the next person.  If the drink is best chilled, I will make the cocktail ahead of time and the shake it with ice just before serving.

I have found many thyme lemonade recipes, but not limoncello.  The dinner party I was attending had an Italian theme, so I thought homemade limoncello would be a perfect cap to the evening.

Garden Grown Thyme Limoncello
6-8 lemons
750 ml vodka of your choice
10 Springs thyme

  • Peel the zest from the lemons trying not to get the white pith of the skin. 
  • Add lemon zest and vodka together in a glass container and cover.
  • Set the filled container in a cool place for 2-5 days.
  • Squeeze lemons and freeze juice in ice cube trays for future use.
  • Once those 2-5 days have passed, remove the lemon peels from the vodka and discard.
  • To make your thyme simple syrup, combine 3 cups water with 3 cups sugar to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour the simple syrup through a sieve and discard thyme.
  • Combine the thyme simple syrup with the lemon vodka in a large glass pitcher.  Stir well and place in the refrigerator or freezer until cocktail time!


Adding thyme knocked down the bitterness and offered a unique flavor to the limencello, however, I don't know if it is the best use of my thyme when making cocktails.  I will continue to search for other cocktails that include this herb, but for now, I've decided to plant it in my garden to pack more of a punch.

Do you have a thyme cocktail recipe that you love?  Please share!

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