Lemon Gardens: Lemon Balm Wine Cooler

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A summer variation of May wine, Lemon Balm Wine Cooler is thirst-quenching and delicious, and it has only half the alcohol content of wine. This recipe requires a few minutes of preparation in the morning, a whole day of steeping, and a few minutes to finish just before serving.

In the morning, sashay out to the garden and cut a large handful of lemon balm. Wash the leafy stalks thoroughly, shake off the excess water, and pat dry with toweling. Place the lemon balm in the bottom of a nonmetallic pitcher. Pour a bottle of your favorite white wine over the herbs–I like a fruity Riesling. With a wooden spoon, bruise the leaves thoroughly. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate the mixture until dinnertime.

Strain out and discard the lemon balm. Fill tall glasses with ice, then fill each glass halfway with the herb-flavored wine, topping it up with ginger ale or club soda. Garnish with calendula petals and paper-thin slices of lemon.

The lemon garden on which this article is based is only a small part of the extraordinary garden that author Geri Laufer tends in Atlanta, Georgia.

Click here for the main article, Garden Design: How to Create a Lemon Garden.

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