You know the saying “all’s well that ends well”? That’s how I feel about this cocktail. All Swell (that ends well) since it took me forever to land on a *new* recipe that used some of my leftover wedding vodka infusion. Yep, this cocktail came about because even though my loved ones are excellent at drinking, I had three handles of my rosemary honey vodka to spare after marrying my beloved. Never being one to let good vodka go to waste, I set about finding a SECOND wonderful drink to enjoy my infusion with.
First things first, my rosemary honey vodka is pretty much the easiest infusion in the world. Buy some Smirnoff Wild Honey vodka (actually pretty good and easy to find!) and shove some rosemary leaves into it. You can just buy the package of fresh rosemary from the supermarket and use all of that, or cut about 7 – 10 stems from your plant at home. Be sure to cut the leaves off the stems, because the stems make it taste too woody and you aren’t a forest sprite. Let sit for a week, then strain the rosemary out. Boom. Rosemary honey vodka.
Wait, but what did you do with it?
Oh yeah! Great question. For my wedding, I took my FANCY rosemary honey vodka and mixed it with sparkling grapefruit juice and grapefruit bitters. It was a “play on a Greyhound” because I was feeling esoteric like that, and I called it a “What What.” Because I wanted people at my wedding to go up to the bar and say:
Yep. Sure did. That’s the kind of Bridezilla I was. The drink was great but honestly, I had it so many times while perfecting it that I was over the What What before I said, “I do.”
So with my leftover vodka, I tried many things. I tried it with prosecco. Nope, that’s gross and definitely vodka + prosecco makes me an alcoholic. I tried it with peach juice. It was okay, but kind of tasted like a baby shower. I tried it with lemonade and that was boring, but moving in the right direction.
A few months later, I was cranking through a bottle of dry vermouth and it hit me that vermouth and vodka actually have a history together. On top of that, I realized that elderflower liqueur, being floral, might actually harmonize nicely with rosemary and honey. So I started mixing them together in different ratios to find something that might be considered “swell.”
All Swell, Indeed
The final ratio ended up being pretty simple, all things considered. Just a big-side jigger pour of vodka, then the small-side pour of the other two spirits, and the juice of half a lemon. (That’s 1.5 oz vodka and .5 oz of elderflower and vermouth, for the nerds.)
This recipe works because the lemon and the elderflower balance each other out on the sweet/tart spectrum. The herbal qualities of the vodka and vermouth then round out the cocktail with some complexity. It feels like a grownup cocktail, one that you would not be surprised to find on the menu at a place that knows what they’re doing.
So pretend like you know what you’re doing and make one yourself! You are at most a week away (if you have to infuse the vodka, which you should) from getting a swell ending for yourself.
Rosemary-honey vodka, elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth, and lemon mix for a perfectly balanced floral cocktail.
- 1.5 oz rosemary-honey vodka (Instructions in notes)
- .5 oz dry vermouth
- .5 oz elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain)
- .5 lemon (juiced)
Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds, then strain into a martini glass and enjoy.
For rosemary-honey vodka: Pick up a bottle of Smirnoff Wild Honey vodka and infuse with the rosemary leaves from 7 - 10 sprigs. Let sit in a dark place for about a week, then strain the rosemary out and enjoy.
Make an All Swell When…
- A cold snap hits in the middle of your beach vacation and you desperately want to feel ~~ABOVE IT~~ but really you want something strong. It’s bright enough to seem summery, but its earthy herbal notes won’t leave you cold.
- That kinda-naughty chick lit sequel you’ve been looking forward finally comes out. An All Swell in your hand elevates any guilty pleasure into high art!