By George Graham
While a big pitcher of homemade lemonade brings genteel Southern credibility to any backyard gathering, I profess that adding a splash (or two) of rum to the tall glass can only lengthen the slow drawl of the conversation. And clipping fresh sprigs of rosemary to add to the mix brings fragrance to the nose while sipping this glorious concoction. I love it so.
Lemons grow naturally in my backyard, and it seems that every other year I have a bumper crop. This is that year. Roxanne and I love to make all our favorite lemon desserts, and just when we have exhausted our recipe archives, we still have over half our harvest left. With more lemons than we can use, we always have a “squeezing and freezing” party to enjoy the juice year round. Time to make lemonade!
Meyer lemons came into culinary popularity in the 1990s thanks to California chef Alice Waters, who introduced them in her first cookbook. I love how this hybrid—a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin–has a distinct flavor versus your average supermarket citrus. More fragrant, I think. Less tart, with a citrus edge that brings a slight grin rather than a sourpuss pucker. These lemons still need sweetness, but I’ve opted for all-natural stevia instead of granulated sugar. And my liquor of choice is an Acadiana-made rum from the town of Lacassine.
Bayou Silver Rum is the perfect choice for this cocktail: First, it’s made within an hour of my house, and if you know me, I’m all about supporting Louisiana products. And it’s made with sugarcane harvested in the fields of Acadiana; it doesn’t get any better than that. Distilled in copper pots, rested, and bottled in Lacassine, Bayou Rum is one of a handful of rums made in the United States, thus the trademark America’s Rum. And my friend Trey Litel, president of Louisiana Spirits, LLC, maker of Bayou Rum, explained to me that his distillery is leading the way in a premium rum movement across the country that is connecting with customers the way craft beer has changed that industry. This is a soft, smooth sipping rum that works perfectly in my recipe.
Give this Lemon/Rosemary Rum Cooler a try, and you just might plant your own lemon tree.
LEMON/ROSEMARY RUM COOLER
- 8 whole lemons, preferably Meyer lemons
- 8 sprigs of rosemary
- 8 lemon slices, seeds removed
- ½ cup granulated sugar or stevia
- Kosher salt
- 4 (1.5 ounce) jiggers Bayou Silver Rum
- In the container of a large 2-quart pitcher or large 64-ounce Mason jar, squeeze the juice of the lemons removing any seeds. Add 4 rosemary sprigs along with 4 slices of the lemon. Add the sugar and fill the pitcher with water and stir. Let steep for 2 hours or overnight.
- In 4 tall glasses, rub each rim with 1 lemon slice. Invert the glass onto a plate covered with kosher salt and move the rim around the salt until coated.
- In each glass filled with ice, add 1 jigger of rum and fill with lemonade. Finish by adding 1 slice of lemon and 1 sprig of rosemary for garnish. Repeat for each cocktail.