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A lemongrass and herb-flavored simple syrup is the base for this super refreshing cocktail. This drink feels seasonless to me — the combination of bracing flavors like lemongrass, rosemary, and a bit of heat from a hot pepper mixed with toasty ginger beer and the brightness of lemon juice.

We loved the backdrop of neutral vodka in this cocktail, but you could also try this recipe with tequila or even bourbon during a cooler month. The syrup is easy to make and can be made days ahead of time and kept in the fridge. Serve this very cold. And make sure to check out 22 Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays!

Pouring Lemongrass Cocktail over ice into glasses garnished with rosemary and lemon.

Lemongrass Cocktail: This cocktail is bright and fresh and effervescent, with flavors of lemongrass, rosemary, ginger, lemon and just a hint of spiciness.

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Lemongrass Rosemary Simple Syrup

This recipe makes a lot more simple syrup than you will need to make 4 drinks. Either make a second batch of drinks (the most likely decision!) or keep it for up to a week to make another round later in the week. Or you can use it in place of a different simple syrup in another drink recipe; just make sure the flavors of the rosemary, lemongrass, and chile pepper will be compatible with the other ingredients. The syrup is not that strongly flavored, so it shouldn’t overpower any drink when used in a small quantity. 

This simple syrup can be added to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I think it would be amazing in lemonade or watermelon lemonade, providing another sophisticated layer of flavor.

Glass decanter of fresh simple syrup.

Ingredients

  • Sugar – Mixed with an equal amount of water and then heated to a simmer, the sugar dissolves, forming the base of the simple syrup that flavors the cocktail. You can use regular granulated sugar. Learn more about how to make and use simple syrup!
  • Lemongrass – To get the most flavor out of lemongrass, you’ll want to pound it well first, then roughly chop it. It will be strained out of the syrup, so you can use most of the stalk in this recipe, even the upper part, which is quite hard.
  • Fresh rosemary – You have to use fresh, not dried, rosemary and chop it before adding it to the hot simple syrup.
  • Chile pepper – You can use 1 Thai, serrano, or jalapeño pepper. If you want the sugar syrup to be less spicy, remove the seeds before slicing and adding the pepper.
Ginger beer, vodka, rosemary, jalapeno, and other ingredients for a lemongrass cocktail.
  • Fresh lemon juice – Lime juice is a perfectly fine substitute (use fresh!).
  • Vodka – Use a plain vodka or perhaps a lemon-infused version. Tequila or bourbon would be two other liquors to try to change things up.
  • Ginger beer – There are many good brands out there: try Gosling (very available in supermarkets), Fever-Tree, or Q Ginger Beer.

How to Make the Lemongrass Cocktail

  1. Make the simple syrup. Heat the water and sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemongrass, rosemary, and chile pepper, and turn off the heat. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours, strain out the solids, then chill the syrup.
Wooden spoon stirring homemade simple syrup in saucepot.
  1. Combine the drink in a pitcher. In a pitcher, combine ½ cup of the simple syrup, lemon juice, and vodka. Pour in the ginger beer and stir.
Pouring Gosling Ginger Beer into a pitcher to make a cocktail.
  1. Garnish and serve. Fill 4 rocks or highball glasses with ice and pour over the cocktail. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges, and serve.
Pouring pitcher cocktail into ice-filled glasses garnished with rosemary and lemon.

Tips

  • Usually, when you cook with lemongrass, you want to use the more tender, pale inner part of the lower half of the stalk. But here, you will be straining out the lemongrass solids so you can use the whole thing. Use a meat mallet or the base of a knife to pound the stalks of lemongrass to release more flavor and aroma, and then chop it. 
  • Taste and add more simple syrup if you want a sweeter drink.

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Lemongrass Cocktail

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Resting and Chilling Time for the Syrup: 3 hours
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 People
This cocktail is bright and fresh and effervescent, with flavors of lemongrass, rosemary, ginger, lemon and just a hint of spiciness.

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup pounded and roughly chopped lemongrass (see Note)
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Thai, serrano, or jalapeño pepper (sliced; seeds removed for a milder drink)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 1 cup ginger beer
  • Lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs (to garnish)

Instructions 

  • In a small saucepot, heat the water and sugar over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a simmer and the sugar dissolves. Add the lemongrass, rosemary, and chile pepper, and turn off the heat. Let the mixture sit for 2 hours at room temperature, then strain out the solids. Chill the syrup in the fridge for at least an hour (see Note).
  • In a pitcher, combine 2 tablespoons cup of the simple syrup, the lemon juice, and vodka. Pour in the ginger beer and stir. Taste and add more simple syrup if you want a sweeter drink. Fill 4 rocks or highball glasses with ice and pour over the cocktail. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and lemon wedges, and serve.

Notes

  • Usually, when you cook with lemongrass, you want to use the more tender, pale inner part of the lower half of the stalk. But here, you will be straining out the lemongrass solids so you can use the whole thing. Use a meat mallet or the base of a knife to pound the stalks of lemongrass to release more flavor and aroma, and then chop it. 
  • This recipe makes a lot more simple syrup than you will need to make 4 drinks. Either make a second batch of drinks (the most likely decision!) or keep it for up to a week to make another round later in the week. Or you can use it in place of a different simple syrup in another drink recipe; just make sure the flavors of the rosemary, lemongrass, and chile pepper will be compatible with the other ingredients. The syrup is not that strongly flavored, so it shouldn’t overpower any drink when used in a small quantity. 
  • This simple syrup can be added to both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. I think it would be amazing in lemonade or watermelon lemonade, providing another sophisticated layer of flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 188kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 0.04g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.003g, Sodium: 6mg, Potassium: 13mg, Fiber: 0.04g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 1IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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