Drink of the Week: Springtime Herbal Punch
Scott Pollenz | Times
Wet your whistle with Springtime Herbal Punch, a refreshing twist on the classic mojito.
Tampa Bay is in a weather sweet spot right now. All of April and the first half of May typically offer cool breezes and warm weather without the downbeat of Florida's unforgiving summer sun. It's the quiet lull after the spring breakers pass through, the perfect time for porch hangouts, beach trips and picnics.
Capitalize on this beautiful weather with a light and crisp herbal punch. A twist on the classic mojito, it maintains similar flavors with basil and rosemary replacing mint. The base of the punch is white rum and lime-flavored sparkling water. A rosemary-infused simple syrup blends superbly with the minty, peppery notes of the basil and the warmth of the white rum.
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Rosemary Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Dissolve sugar into water in a small pot, adding rosemary sprig to the mixture once it has been combined. Bring the syrup to a boil, then remove from the heat. Remove the rosemary and let cool.
Makes about 1 cup.
Springtime Herbal Punch
The key to incorporating the herbal flavors in this punch is to allow the basil and rosemary to infuse into the white rum hours before serving.
1 (750-milliliter) bottle white rum
1 cup rosemary simple syrup (see recipe)
2 limes, plus more for garnish
4 (12-ounce) cans lime-flavored sparkling water
Place rum in a large punch bowl and add a sprig of basil and rosemary. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
To the punch bowl, add rosemary simple syrup and the juice of 2 limes and stir. Add lime-flavored sparkling water. Be sure not to stir after the seltzer has been added or else the fizz will flatten.
For a family-friendly picnic punch, remove the white rum and replace it with limeade.
Serve over ice, garnished with a wedge of fresh lime.