You can either hate it or love it. It has an intensely floral and citrus taste - almost like perfume. Too much and you've just ruined your drink. Just a few drops, though, can balance sweetness, making a sweet drink more complex and floral. We like it in strict moderation.
In fact, while we call for a half tablespoon here, but we suggest starting with a half teaspoon, sipping, and testing. You may like a little more, or not. We find that the floral notes in the orange blossom water complement and highlight the higher, sweeter notes of lemon verbena.
This is a subtle drink; it's not a big, exotic cocktail. It's delicate, faintly sweet, and tingling with flavors of herbs and flowers. It's just right for a cool spring day, accompanied perhaps by a little plate of goat cheese and pepper crackers.
Small handful of lemon verbena leaves
1/2 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 ounce lemon verbena syrup
1 ounce gin
Lemon to garnish
Muddle the lemon verbena leaves with the back of a spoon in an 8-ounce glass, bruising them a little. Pack the glass with ice. Pour in the orange blossom water, syrup, and gin and stir. Top off with the soda water, stir, garnish, and sip.
(Images: Faith Hopler)