Inevitably twice a year I lose my voice. My husband says it's partly because of vocal fry, though I refuse to believe I sound like the Kardashians or even more offending, a teenage girl. I swear no vocal fry here. I just lose it. Before it goes for good, that same scratchiness sets in and immediately I turn on the teapot and break out the honey. This go-round, I believe it was two simple ingredients that saved my voice.
In one of our last end of summer CSA hauls was nestled a bunch of bright green lemon balm (read more about lemon balm and other lemon-scented herbs here). It's an herb that looks like a cross between basil and mint, but distinctly smells like lemon. I thought it would be yummy in tea but seeing as we were having friends over for an al fresco 10-Minute Happy Hour, I instead broke out the Ball jars again.
Not long before their arrival my brother Dave came bearing a gift of his homemade honey. This year he officially became certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and has been lovingly tending bees in his very own apiary. The first haul was successful and now his family and friends are the lucky recipients of a delicious batch of natural creamed honey.
We decided to switch up our intended cocktail for the evening to something in honor of Dave's beekeeping victory. Out came the lemon balm from the kitchen and some rum from the bar, and mixed with his creamed honey we had a hit. We portioned out the drinks into individual Ball jars ahead of time and left them on the bar next to an ice bucket. This frees up the host from making cocktails on demand. I always prefer to make a batch of self-serve cocktails, individual or big batches in pitchers, and fill an ice bucket on the side. By not adding the ice ahead of time we avoid watered down drinks.
And the bonus is that the morning after I awoke to a scratch-free throat and less shaky voice. Apparently this mixture was just the balm my vocal chords needed, thus an appropriately named cocktail: The Beekeeper's Balm.
What are some of your homemade remedies? We'd love to know so fill us in the comments section below.
Beekeeper's Balm Cocktail
Makes 8 to 10 drinks
very warm or hot water
freshly squeezed, lemon juice, strained
fresh lemon balm leaves, loosely packed
Club soda to top off, optional
Lemon slices, for garnish
Stir honey and water in a pitcher until honey is dissolved. Add the rum and lemon juice.
Add the lemon balm and muddle with a wooden spoon.
Fill 8 to 10 canning jars with ice cubes. Divide the cocktail evenly among the glasses. Top with club soda if desired. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky.
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(Images: Maureen Petrosky)