This fragrant liqueur is a variation from a recipe for Thyme Liqueur that I got from the south of France and is part of my new book. Since I still have tons of lemons, and also because my Lemon Liqueur is so popular with our friends, I came up with this fusion of the two flavors that I think are the epitome of the Mediterranean Summer!
The French believe that thyme tisane is an excellent digestive and the perfect treatment for a hangover. But I suggest thyme not for its medicinal properties, but because its aroma, especially complemented with the lemon peels and with a bit of help from the alcohol, will transport you to the rugged hills overlooking the dark-blue sea—and if that is not therapeutic, I don’t know what is.
I make this liqueur in June with our strongly aromatic wild thyme which needs to be infused just a few days only; good-quality dried thyme can be substituted and the common European thyme is excellent. The first time I made the liqueur following the French recipe with the purple wild thyme from Kea, leaving the tops macerate for 4 weeks, the resulting drink was bitter and so strongly flavored that it was almost like a medicine.
Now I know better and use either the more delicate European thyme sprigs, or I macerate the wild purple thyme just a few days in vodka. Mixed with lemon peels this fragrant liqueur is an ideal finale to a Mediterranean lunch or dinner.