Mrs. Wilson's Lemonade

rosemarylemonadeMy house wine is sweat tea, but there are a couple concoctions I simply relish as much as tea. One is Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade and the other, a “James Farmer” – this Farmer’s version of an Arnold Palmer.

Dear friends of mine in Montgomery host me and “put me up” (or more so put up with me) when I’m staying in town for the night, and Mrs. Wilson, a fabulous cook and hostess in her own right, often makes a batch of this delicious drink. I cannot be more thrilled to partake.

I, as she has, have served this sweet, tangy, and savory blend to guests, family, and party attendees alike and it is always received with smiles and requests for more.

Mrs. Wilson serves hers from beautiful antique crockery pitchers, thus making it taste that much better, in my humble opinion. A farm girl originally from Opp, Alabama, Mrs. Wilson knows the importance of serving the best to friends and family.

Often times the best is just simple yet elegant creations direct from the garden and the land. Rosemary lemonade epitomizes this – fresh herbs from the garden, juice right from lemons, and simple syrup to bring it all together.

Mix this lemonade with my sweet tea, and you have one heck of an Arnold Palmer. Delicious and divine my friends, delicious and divine. Yea, though, as I mention an Arnold Palmer, this Farmer does have a version of the famed beverage… selfishly dubbed a “James Farmer.”


I love orange juice. I love sweet tea. Mix the two together and wowza! Here is the trick though; you have to use good orange juice and good tea. If the foundation is not strong, then your drink will merely be a house of cards, destined to fall with the slightest stir.

Fresh squeezed orange juice is a delicacy in and of itself. Though life doesn’t allow this Farmer to prepare freshly squeezed orange juice every morning, I do find solace in the fact that Simply Orange, Natalie’s Orchid Island, and Whole Food’s 365 brand are readily available. The ratio, a 2 to 1 makeup of tea to juice, is fundamental to enjoying this beverage. Add a splash of Russian drinking water (vodka), and this drink becomes an adult beverage in  a splash, I mean flash!

Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade or a “James Farmer” – take your pick or take them both! I’m sure they will be a hit at your next dinner party, brunch or soiree. Hopefully, barkeeps around the Deep South will recognize a request for a “James Farmer” but if not, feel free to educate them! Ha! From this Farmer’s bar to yours, salut! 

Mrs. Wilson’s Rosemary Lemonade

6 heaping teaspoons of rosemary
2-3 cups of sugar…more or less depending on your sweet tooth
1 1/2 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
9 cups of water

Mix rosemary, 3 cups of water, and sugar in a saucepan and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Strain out the rosemary and add the now rosemary infused simple syrup mixture to the 9 cups of water, lemon juice, and salt.

Mix well and serve ice cold. Garnish with sliced lemon and rosemary sprigs. Enjoy!


James T. Farmer III was born and raised in Georgia, where he continues to live and work as a landscape designer. He shares his love of food, flowers and photography on his blog All Things Farmer.