All Things Herbal



Spring Thyme Wine Spritzer

J.Shepherd Spring Wine Spritzerrecipe and photos by Jessica Shepherd

Every month our small town has an event called Art’s Alive where many small shops stay open late to feature the talent of a local artist’s work in their store accompanied by live music, free drinks, and tasty eats.  The herb shop I work at (Humboldt Herbals) participates in this exciting art filled event every month.  We always come up with an herbal inspired cocktail to share with everyone that comes out for the fun and this time around it was my turn to concoct the drink.  I came up with a Spring Thyme Wine Spritzer–and it was enjoyed by many!  I hope you too will enjoy this refreshing drink.  Cheers to renewal and a fabulous Spring!

First you need to make a “simple syrup” of lavender and thyme.  Here is what you will need for that:

approx.  a generous 1/2 cup worth of fresh thyme from the garden  (I used a lime and lemon thyme variety)

fresh thyme

1 cup lavender tea –to make this take 1 heaping TBSP. of dried lavender flowers, bring a cup of water to a boil-remove from heat and add the lavender, cover with a lid and let steep for about 15 minutes.  Strain the tea and set aside in a mason jar.

1 cup organic sugar 

To Make the Simple Syrup:

Begin by making the lavender tea, then strain and set aside in a mason jar.

Now out to the garden you go to snip some fresh thyme!  Be sure to either snip fresh growth or pluck the leaves off of any hardy woody stems.  You want to avoid thick hardy woody stems, as they will give the syrup more of a bitter flavor–we don’t want that.

Next, put your 1 cup of lavender tea in a saucepan, add in the organic sugar, then add in your  fresh thyme.  Bring everything in the saucepan to a boil, then turn the heat to a med- low simmer, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain well.  Set the syrup aside in a mason jar and allow to cool.  Refrigerate the syrup if you won’t be using it right away.  Viola’ you have now made Lavender-Thyme Simple Syrup!  This will keep for a few months in the refrigerator.

Now to craft your wine spritzer:

1 cup Pinot Grigio white wine 

1 cup sparkling water 

1/2 cup ginger ale 

2-3 TBSP of Lavender Thyme Simple Syrup (begin with 2 TBSP. taste it, and adjust as you prefer)

Combine all the above and serve it chilled.  As always I encourage you to experiment with proportions of this recipe to your desired taste!

A non-alcholic alternative could be:

To 1 cup of sparkling water add 1-2 TBSP of Lavender Thyme Simple Syrup and serve chilled!  This tastes savory and refreshing, with a delicate floral undertone.

lime thyme JShepherd

Take “thyme” to celebrate Spring with friends and family–no “thyme” is like the present “thyme”!!!

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Mermaid Divine Bath Soak

herbs, flowers, and seaweed

By Jessica Shepherd

February has been a wonderful month of celebrating quite a few of my cherished friend’s birthdays.  I will admit,  I get a little “Martha Stewart” (and proud of it!) when it comes to my “all things herbal” life and I keep my pantry stocked—so when birthdays of treasured friend’s and family roll around  I’m ready to pour my love into crafting them a one-of-a kind hand made herbal treat–sure to delight!

mermaid bath soak

I make sure to have a collection of glassware—jars, bottles, etc., plenty of herbs and flowers of course, then there’s carrier oils, butters, hydrosols, salts, and essential oils you get the picture…it’s like my magical little nook of inspiration—I open the door and the ideas start swirling!

This time around it was a delicious bath soak.  I set my eyes on some seaweed a dear friend had recently wild-crafted in Mendocino County and it sent me dreaming of mermaids for a moment and I knew it was meant to be a part of this aromatic soaking blend.

So here’s the recipe for you to treat your friend’s too, or better yet treat yourself!  Soak up the wonder’s of bliss from aromatherapy, the relaxation and minerals of salts, herbs, and flowers, and the soothing quality of seaweed.

The smell of this blend is heavenly-sweet, with soothing vanilla and ylang ylang to melt your stresses away!  The essential oils in this recipe are all well known to bring about deep relaxation, calm mental-chatter, elevate mood/promote euphoria, and comfort the heart; seaweed’s are famous for their ability to soothe, heal, and moisturize the skin and offer a bounty of minerals; the herbs and flowers relax the muscles and rejuvenate skin cells;  sea salt and pink salt relax and purify both body and mind.

mermaid soak

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 cups sea salt

1 cup Himalayan pink salt

1 cup baking soda

½ cup each dried: Rose petals, Lavender, Calendula, Lemon Balm, Linden blossom/leaf, Chamomile

approx. 4  (6-8 inch) strips of Kombu seaweed

1/4 cup Vanilla bean powder

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Lavender angustifolia essential oil 40 drops

Ruby Red Grapefruit essential oil 25 drops

Lime essential oil 15 drops

Ylang Ylang extra essential oil 25 drops

As always organic or home-grown herbs are preferred!

Support your local farms and your local herb shop too!

This recipe filled 3 approx. 8oz. heart jars (which I scored at Michaels Craft Store) and one 16oz. jar

sea salt, himalayan pink salt, and baking soda mixture

Begin by mixing together the sea salt, pink salt, and baking soda together

adding vanilla bean pwd. and e.o.'s

Next add in the essential oils, stir well with a whisk, then add the vanilla bean extract, and whisk well, then finally add in the vanilla bean powder and whisk/mix well trying to break up any clumps

adding kombu strips

Now snip into pieces, and add in the kombu to the aromatic salt mixture

bath soak blend

Next add in all of the beautiful flowers and herbs: roses, calendula, linden, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm (and of course any others you desire!!)

view of inside the jar

After a final mixing of all the divine ingredients,  you can put it into any jar of your choice…I always like a little piece of seaweed on top…

gorgeous bath soak

the scent exuding from this jar is exotic, tropical-floral, with a wink of citrus, finished with a ripple of vanilla to soothe the soul!

You can also include a little muslin cotton drawstring(optional) bag for easy use and re-use– and of course, a little label with ingredients and instructions. I like to use about a 1/2 cup of soak blend per bath–up to a full cup if your feelin’ like a queen!  Scoop it into the wee cotton bag, toss it in as you run the hot water for your soak, then let it infuse the whole time that well, you do!  When you treat yourself to this soak you will be oh, so glad you did—if you find that after the first 10 minutes or so you relax into sheer bliss and content (somehow forgetting about your stiff neck and silly worries)—yup that’s aromatherapy and herbs at work–give thanks!

Soak your way into Spring and bask in the Mermaid’s Garden– let the waters cradle you and let the herbs and beauty of the sea-plants restore you.  Prepare for Bliss!

mermaid divine