Combine 1 cup white sugar with 1 cup water and a sprig of rosemary in a small saucepan. Bring it to a low boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, then set the simple syrup aside on the counter for 30 minutes to one hour. The more rosemary flavor you want, the longer you should let it sit.
Meanwhile, juice 8 lemons. You’re aiming for about 1 and 1/4 cups lemon juice.
Once the simple syrup has cooled, use a strainer to drain out any rosemary leaves. Add the simple syrup to the lemon juice in a large pitcher. Top with 6.5 cups of cold water and 1 cup of ice cubes. Stir to combine and move the pitcher to the fridge.
To make cocktails, mix 1/2 cup homemade rosemary lemonade with 3 small ice cubes and 1 shot of gin. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and a lemon slice.
Hey, this is a good moment to talk about my relationship with alcohol!
I never really loved drinking alcohol– especially not beer– but when you attend a college like Bucknell, you don’t feel like you have much of a choice. Still, I’ve always been able to easily consume at least 2 to 3 drinks per night while out with friends, and over the years I’ve found some beers and cocktails I really enjoy.
But during this past year, as I’ve started to reduce my overall sugar intake, I’ve noticed a major shift in how my body is able to process the sugar in alcoholic drinks. Now, I really pay for my nights out on the town– so much so that it’s barely worth it for me to have more than one drink!
These days, I’m learning how to say no when friends offer me a second or third beer. That’s harder than I thought it would be. And because I only have one drink at a time, I’m more stingy about ordering something that I’ll really enjoy. Hence my experimentation with homemade lemonade! While this drink still has a lot of sugar in it, I can also control how much sugar I add; sometimes I even use honey. Making my own cocktails helps me stay in control of the ingredients and it means I know what I’m getting when I decide to splurge. Win-win!
Btw, if you prefer your drinks stronger, you can add a bit more gin to this recipe– the rosemary lemonade masks pretty much all the alcohol flavor! If you prefer a less-sugary lemonade, add more water to the mixture.