Recipe from the field: Brett’s Salted Chamomile + Cucumber Spritz

Recipe by Brett Bankson
Photography by: Brett Bankson

Oct 09, 2022

salted chamomile + cucumber spritz

Recipe from our own service manager, Brett Bankson


8 cups densely packed german chamomile** (or 32 bags [or 4/3 cup looseleaf] chamomile tea)
12 cups water
6 cups rice vinegar
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsps kosher salt
16 footlong tender-skinned cucumbers
Large bottle of sparkling water


First, make the salted german chamomile shrub
  1. Add your chamomile in a pot, cover with water *just* to submerge and barely float the chamomile, add in half the water volume of rice vinegar (I prefer rice vinegar for shrubs and pickles in general, but any vinegar you have on hand that plays well with other flavors, such as champagne or sherry, would work perfectly for this application. Remember – you’re going to be drinking this!). Add sugar and salt.

  2. Bring ingredients to a gentle boil, then reduce and simmer with lid partly ajar for 25 minutes. Your shrub will have reduced somewhat, taken on a golden-verging-on-chartreuse color, and become glossy.

  3. Strain chamomile solids and let shrub chill. Flavor and overall experience will amplify as chilling occurs, so please let your shrub sit in the fridge for at least overnight!

Then, juice your cucumbers
  1. This part is pretty simple; wash, peel, and puree / juice cucumbers. Go ahead and juice 16 large cucumbers – you’ll have 2 quarts of juice and no regrets. Cucumber juice is a joy and will make everyone around you really happy. Strain if needed to yield the most demure, jade-colored juice.

  2. Chill until ready to serve.

To make your spritz…
  1. Mix 1 part very chilled shrub, 2 parts very chilled cucumber juice, and a cute, heavy floater of sparkling water together.

    If you really like the flavor of your shrub and your juice, go ahead and opt for unflavored! Polar Seltzer, Topo Chico, anything with vigorous bubbles and a violent, mineral-present mouthfeel would be appropriate for this beverage. If you’d like to add a little something extra, then pick a nicely flavored sparkling water – ginger, lemon, peach, pamplemousse, lime. Play with it, see what works best for you!

Tips on foraging chamomile

**If foraging, look for German chamomile vs. its (less common) cousin, Roman chamomile. German chamomile is an annual that grows up to 24” as a spindly, sparse, effloresced shrub, whereas Roman chamomile creeps perennially along the ground with bushy, thick, dill-like fronds. If foraging your own German chamomile is not possible – totally understand – then store-bought loose-leaf chamomile tea is perfectly suitable for the shrub! 

When I use foraged chamomile, I just cut a big basketful,  then trim off peripheral root endings and any dead fronds, soak the big mess in water for 10 minutes to let sediment descend, then cut everything into about 6” segments, to fit comfortably in a big pot. — Brett


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