Limeade with Herbs & White Kampot
Serves 4 (makes enough syrup for a second batch).
The flavor of lime includes sweet and savory notes along with its tart burst of citrus. To make this limeade, we make a syrup infused with herbs and Kampot white pepper, a rare pepper from Cambodia. We combine this syrup with fresh lime juice, seltzer, and some fresh herbs for a beverage that is bright and restorative with a touch of heat from the pepper.
Both the syrup and herbed sugar can be made a day or two in advance. If you’d like to make a limeade cocktail, try adding gin or vodka to the limeade.
For the herb and Kampot syrup:
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon white Kampot pepper, cracked
1 cup sliced celery (from about 2 stalks; include some leaves if you can)
2–3 stems flat leaf parsley
½ teaspoon ajwain, lightly crushed
For the limeade (1 batch):
12–14 mint leaves
10 celery leaves
1 lime, thinly sliced into rounds
5 ounces fresh lime juice (from 5-6 limes)
5 ounces herb and Kampot syrup
3 cans (12 ounces) plain seltzer
Make the syrup Put the sugar and water into a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir very gently to mix the sugar and water. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then add the pepper, celery, parsley, ajwain, and a pinch of salt. Continue to heat until boiling; boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to infuse and cool to room temperature, 20-30 minutes. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar and discard the solids. Cap the jar and store in the fridge.
Make the herbed sugar for the rims Put the pepper into a mortar and pestle (or clean coffee grinder) and grind until it’s the texture of coarse sand. Add the sugar and tarragon and grind to a fine powder. Store in a tightly sealed container.
Make the limeade Set out a large pitcher (one batch is just over a quart, plus you’ll need room for ice). Set out 4 Collins glasses.
Pour the herbed sugar into a small, shallow bowl that’s wider than the diameter of the glasses. Moisten the rim of each glass (a small piece of lime works well). Dip the rim of each glass into the bowl of sugar and set the glasses aside.
Put the mint and celery leaves into the pitcher and use a spoon to bruise them slightly. Add the lime slices, followed by the lime juice, syrup, and a pinch of salt. Stir to mix, then stir in 1 can of seltzer. Add 2 cups ice and the remaining 2 cans of seltzer, give a gentle stir. Pour into the rimmed glasses and serve.