Friday, March 4, 2011

Bartender says, “What will you have, sir?”

I’ll have Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade, please, or a “James Farmer,” my good man. My house wine is sweat tea, but there are a couple concoctions I simply relish as much as tea. One is Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade and the other, a “James Farmer” – this Farmer’s version of an Arnold Palmer.

Now, lemonade in the winter you ask? Yes sir, yes ma’am! Lemons are coming in as a winter crop from Florida and California, and what better time to enjoy their nectar than with one of winter’s mainstay herbs in the Deep South. Of course, I enjoy this beverage any time of year, but there is just something luxurious about this brew in the depth of winter. It is actually good warm or cold, thus the basis of its year round appeal. Here now is the story, morning-glory, of Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade.


Dear friends of mine in Montgomery host me and “put me up” (or more so put up with me) when I’m staying in said town for the night, and Mrs. Wilson, a fabulous cook and hostess in her own right, often makes a batch of this delicious drink. I cannot be more thrilled to partake. I, as she has, have served this sweet, tangy, and savory blend to guests, family, and party attendees alike and it is always received with smiles and requests for more.


Mrs. Wilson serves hers from beautiful antique crockery pitchers, thus making it taste that much better, in my humble opinion. A farm girl originally from Opp, Alabama, Mrs. Wilson knows the importance of serving the best to friends and family. Often times the best is just simple yet elegant creations direct from the garden and the land. Rosemary lemonade epitomizes this – fresh herbs from the garden, juice right from lemons, and simple syrup to bring it all together. Mix this lemonade with my sweet tea, and you have one heck of an Arnold Palmer. Delicious and divine my friends, delicious and divine. Yea, though, as I mention an Arnold Palmer, this Farmer does have a version of the famed beverage… selfishly dubbed a “James Farmer.”

I love orange juice. I love sweet tea. Mix the two together and wowza! Here is the trick though; you have to use good orange juice and good tea. If the foundation is not strong, then your drink will merely be a house of cards, destined to fall with the slightest stir.

Fresh squeezed orange juice is a delicacy in and of itself. Though life doesn’t allow this Farmer to prepare freshly squeezed orange juice every morning, I do find solace in the fact that Simply Orange, Natalie’s Orchid Island, and Whole Food’s 365 brand are readily available. The ratio, a 2 to 1 makeup of tea to juice, is fundamental to enjoying this beverage. Add a splash of Russian drinking water (vodka), and this drink becomes an adult beverage in  a splash, I mean flash! 


Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade or a “James Farmer” – take your pick or take them both! I’m sure they will be a hit at your next dinner party, brunch or soiree. Hopefully, barkeeps around the Deep South will recognize a request for a “James Farmer” but if not, feel free to educate them! Ha! From this Farmer’s bar to yours, salut! 

Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade

6 heaping teaspoons of rosemary
2-3 cups of sugar…more or less depending on your sweet tooth
1 ½ cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ teaspoon of salt
9 cups of water


  • Mix rosemary, 3 cups of water, and sugar in a saucepan and boil gently for 5 minutes.
  • Strain out the rosemary and add the now rosemary infused simple syrup mixture to the 9 cups of water, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Mix well and serve ice cold. Garnish with sliced lemon and rosemary sprigs. Enjoy!

6 comments:

  1. I've got a bag of lemons and plenty of rosemary- I think I will give the "James Farmer" a try this weekend!!! Thanks!!
    Tricia

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  2. I am really enjoying your blog. I have been lurking for a month or so,without commenting. I can't wait to try some of your delicious looking and sounding recipes. All of your images are stunning, your work is beautiful and your writing delightful. Keep up the good work.

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  3. Another lurker leaving a comment. Fabulous blog and wonderful posts every single time! I love your references to the area of GA you are from, as I am not too far from there myself {Meriwether Co.} and am also a graduate of the loveliest village!

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  4. Tricia Raines GriffinMarch 7, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    FYI-- Made the "James Farmer" this past weekend-- loved it!!!! Clean and refreshing!!!

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  5. Glad ya'll like this! More fun things to come and glad to have some newcomers and comments!

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  6. James, I have been asking everybody from Opp who the Mrs. Wilson is. I am from Opp also, although I have lived in Enterprise for twenty years. Can't help but be curious.

    I met you at Scott's Antique Market back in October or November. We chatted about your blog since I recognized you. Found your blog from reading Darby's Fly through my window. Small world isn't it?

    Curiosity will kill a cat as they say and I can't help but wonder if I know your friend, Mrs. Wilson. My maiden name was Grigg.

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