by Max Hodge, Ellie’s Bakery Manager
Ahhhh… it’s hot out, isn’t it? Our rooftop garden in Downcity is full of life, but our herb garden is feeling the heat. Production has slowed, as it does naturally at this time of year, but luckily we’ve been squirreling away our herbs for a rainy day (or in our case, record-breaking heat!). After much experimentation, we’re rolling out a lemon verbena, peppermint, and lavender soda, all of which was grown a mere 100 feet above you!
For those of you not familiar with lemon verbena (also referred to as Aloysia citrodora—citrodora translating to lemon-scented in Latin), it is a flowering shrub with a pungent flavor and aroma that fills a room. Lemon verbena is a powerful antioxidant and has been used for centuries to reduce anxiety and calm nerves. It’s a cheery little plant—which, when fully watered and receiving full sun, stands perky and upright with little white flowers dotted along the plant.
We hang our herbs out to dry for a few days before striping them from their stems and blending the peppermint, verbena, and lavender all together. This is then gently steeped in a syrup. With a few dashes of Angostura bitters and topped off with sparkling water, this becomes an extraordinarily refreshing drink that will help mellow you out, aid with digestion, and just generally take care of you. Give it a taste—we have this in very limited quantities and it is very special to us, so be sure to try it while we have it!