Infusing Part 1: Rosemary Honey (And a Rosemary Honey Latte!)

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Latte

As you will recall, I had a life changing coffee experience about a month ago, at Talula's Table in Philadelphia.  The drink was a Rosemary Latte--a latte spiked with rosemary flavored simple syrup.

I now believe that--with assistance on the latte front from Sweet Husband--not only have we copied the drink, we've made it even better.

A few years ago, one of our favorite breakfast joints, the Mirth Cafe, began making a honey latte, which they called "The Bee's Knees".  I won't lie, it was the cute name that first sold me, but I was quickly dolloping a spoonful of honey into all of my coffee drinks.  And once you make the switch, it's so hard to go back to plain sugar.  (Truly, it makes my nose wrinkle.  It's like biting into a fresh, ripe peach and tasting Skittles.)  

That being the case, I wasn't interested in making simple syrup.  However, later the same afternoon as the lunch at Talula's, I came across some rosemary honey at a farmer's market.  As I was buying a jar, I questioned the seller, and discovered that making infused honey is as easy as making a cup of tea.

There's a quick method and a slow method, and which one you choose just depends on how much time you have and how much rosemary flavor you want.  And either way, you want to start with fairly neutral, light honey.  (Buckwheat honey is one of my latest reasons to live, but it's not right for this application.)

For the slow method, you just cut or bruise a few tablespoons of rosemary, put it in a reusable tea bag, put the bag in a jar of honey, and wait a few weeks until the honey is flavored to your liking.  

If you need it faster you can gently heat the honey after you've added the rosemary.  Just put it all in a canning jar, and let it simmer in a pot of water.  A half an hour is good to start, but, again, if you want it stronger you can go longer.

I've been combining the two methods, starting each jar of honey with an evening of simmering, but then leaving the rosemary inside after until the honey is sufficiently strong.

The really fun thing about the honey?  You could infuse it with anything--lavender, coffee, chilies....

As for the latte part....Sweet Husband's latest hobby/gadget is making espresso at home.  I still haven't properly learned all the ins and outs of our little pot (one of these Bellman guys), but now that he's gotten through the learning stage he makes a mean latte.  For sixteen ounces of espresso/milk, he adds about two tablespoons of rosemary honey, which is darned near perfect for me.  

Even if your barrista is of the Starbucks variety, give this a try sometime!