Rosemary Limeade

Rosemary Limeade
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rosemary limeade
Limey! This is good!

When we were on vacation last month, we planned part of it to allow us to stop in at Hell’s Backbone Grill (HBG) for lunch one day. This isn’t a place you think of 15 minutes or so before you want to eat, because it’s not just around the corner (well, for the people of Boulder, UT, population about 225, it might be, but, for pretty much everyone else, you really have to think about getting there). It’s pretty much out in the middle of nowhere in southern Utah, with only stunning landscapes nearby. We selected it as a stop because, the way they make and source their food is the way we believe everyone should try to do: local, sustainable, seasonably, and with care, thought, and passion. We weren’t disappointed. While waiting for our meal, we noticed HBG has a cookbook coming out, and, the card seemed to indicate that they’d published one prior. When we got home, we checked our library, and, sure enough, the book was in the collection! We checked it out immediately.

Now, we didn’t have this Rosemary Limeade at HBG, and we’re not sure it was even on the menu, but it surely does sound refreshing. We knew we had to try it, and, if it turns out well, we’d pass it on to you, our fellow scratchers. It’s super easy to make, too.

Rosemary Limeade

Yield: 2 large servings (or 4 medium)

Rosemary Limeade


  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) water
  • 1-inch sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2/3 cup (160 g) freshly squeezed lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1 2/3 cup (400 g) cold water

Abbreviated Instructions

Place 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, drop in rosemary sprig, cover, and let steep for 1 hour. Remove rosemary and chill completely.

Combine cold sugar water, lime juice, and water, stirring to mix, and pour over ice to serve.

Ingredient discussion:

Naturally, this recipe can be scaled up to make as much as you want or need, but you will need to remember to squeeze the corresponding amount of lime juice. After all, bottled lime juice isn’t that good-tasting, so you wouldn’t want to use it.

Procedure in detail:

We don’t think this really needs any more detail, so we’ll just post a picture or two. We will caution you about trying to get away without boiling the sugar and water together to get it to dissolve. That’s truly the secret to making great lemonade and limeade. If you don’t make the simple syrup, you might have undissolved sugar that settles to the bottom of the glass: ugh.

simple syrup and rosemary
Boiling the sugar and water together results in a crystal clear simple syrup. Adding a rosemary sprig adds a flavor that pairs well with lime.
juicing limes
We use one of those old-fashioned glass juicers; we picked it up for perhaps a buck at a thrift store, and we don’t think you can find a better juicer.
lime juice
Four limes should give you just about exactly 2/3 a cup of juice.

We will say that this is refreshingly tart with just a hint of the rosemary flavor. You can be sure that we’ll be making this come summer when those daily highs are over 110°F. Easy five stars.

Worth the trouble?

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