Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktails - naturally sweetened | TheRoastedRoot.net #drink #cocktail #whiskey #sugarfree #skinny

You guys, I legit hurdled a rattlesnake a couple of days ago and lived to tell the tale!
Story time.

Get cozy.

I went for a jog on one of my usual trails, which goes through the desert-y canyon lands of Reno, NV. It’s a narrow single track trail with a lot of direct sunlight, so I usually see quite a few lizards basking on rocks while I jog along. It’s therapeutic.

Having grown up in the mountains, I’m no stranger to wildlife. I’ve jogged alongside a coyote (no joke), and have seen plenty of bear on hiking trails, digging through dumpsters, and taking strolls down the center of the street. I’m generally unafraid of wildlife, because wild animals typically mind their own business unless they’re being threatened.  5’3” 115 122-pound chicklet here is about as intrusive as a toddler in a room full of glued-down plastic objects padded with blankies and whipped cream. <- just roll with it.

Unless you’re a snake whose slithery little serptine body spans the width of the entire trail I’m pounding with my own two feet.

Moving right along.

Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktails - naturally sweetened | TheRoastedRoot.net #drink #cocktail #whiskey #sugarfree #skinny

On Wednesday, I was moseying along the trail when I saw a ginorm snake. No big deal, I’ve seen puh-lenty of snakes in my day.  But then I took a looksy poodle at the tail, and my eyeballs did confirm that HOLY STROMBOLI there was a rattle at the end.

Meaning: venomous snake in my midst.

Peering at me straight in the eye sockets, the thing did some sidewind-y action and shook its rattle at me and said, “Yo. You’s on my trail and I’m gonna need you to step off…or else.” <- it sounded vaguely reminiscent of Joey Tribbiani, but like mean. Anyhoo.

I was like, “Mi scusi, good sir.”

I then launched my body over it like I was the long jump champion of the world (as opposed to turning around, because let’s face it: it’s ice cream and jort season, and I’ve got calories to burn) and carried on my way.
Shortly after pole vaulting the snake, I came across a hiker heading in the opposite direction (like in the direction of said rattler). I said, heart still exploding, “Hi there! Just so you know, there’s a rattlesnake up ahead.” <- I win at spoiler alerts.

“Hi. Okay.” <- was the response.

I turned around to see if the back of his head indicated any sign of worry. Nothing. Not even an “oh-my-gosh-you’re-kiiiiidding-me” for the road. Nada. Homeslice must have a much lower insurance deductible than I.

DUH-UUUUDE! Didn’t you watch The Jeff Corwin Experience when you were a tween? <- was what I was thinking to myself. I need a drink of the bourbon varietal. The snake. The dude. It’s all too much.

And then it dawned on me as it does from time to time: human perception is completely out of my control. I can’t convince a hiker that a rattlesnake straddling the entirety of a trail is a scary thing, but I bet you said hiker wouldn’t turn down a refreshing cocktail in a pinch.

…which is why I think I like food and beverages so much. The need for sustenance is universal, and generally, people are pretty receptive to consumables. No matter your opinion of snakes, politics, why the sky is blue, and Miranda and Blake’s divorce (insert frowny face emoji here), everyone loves a good meal and a crisp beverage.

Like zis one:

Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktails - naturally sweetened | TheRoastedRoot.net #drink #cocktail #whiskey #sugarfree #skinny

The older I get, the more persnickety I am about my drinks. Probably because I’ve put myself on a 2-3 drink allowance, so I had better make each one count. When it comes to cocktails, I like them zesty, sweet (but not too sweet), and poured with a heavy hand. As we’ve learned from my Honey Mint Mojitos, and Ginger Margaritas, refined sugar-free simple syrups that are made with quality, fresh ingredients are my jam.

I made a lemon-thyme simple syrup using pure maple syrup, lemon juice, and fresh thyme. Once the simple syrup cooled down, I added Nielsen-Massey Pure Lemon Extract to boost up the lemon flavor. This is the first time I’ve used extracts in a cocktail recipe, and I’m thinking I’ll henceforth be in the habit of breaking out my stash of extracts every time I make cocktails. I love the unique flavor they lend to the drinks without cause for extra steps or ingredients.

Once all’s said and done, these cocktails are nothing more than bourbon, refined sugar-free simple syrup, and water. We class it up by serving the drinks with fresh lemon wedges, because: garnish + vitamin C.

Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktails - naturally sweetened | TheRoastedRoot.net #drink #cocktail #whiskey #sugarfree #skinny

Cheers! May your weekend journeys include no rattlesnakes.

Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktails - naturally sweetened | TheRoastedRoot.net #drink #cocktail #whiskey #sugarfree #skinny

Lemon Thyme Bourbon Cocktails

4.44 from 16 votes
Step up your cocktail game with these zesty, herby lemon thyme bourbon cocktails!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings: 4 Cocktails


Lemon Thyme Simple Syrup:

Each Cocktail:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Lemon Thyme simple syrup
  • Lemon wedge for serving


Make the Simple Syrup

  • Heat all of the ingredients for the simple syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook at a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool to room temperature. Strain syrup with a fine strainer to remove the thyme leaves. Refrigerate until ready to use. Note: Simple syrup can be saved in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Make a Cocktail:

  • Combine the ingredients for one cocktail in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously and serve over ice with a lemon wedge. Note: you can also make multiple cocktails at a time, or even a large batch of cocktails.


There should be enough simple syrup for 3 to 4 cocktails


Serving: 1grams
Author: Julia
Course: Beverages
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy free, easy healthy recipes, gluten free, gluten free recipes, healthy meals, healthy recipes, paleo recipes
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

This post is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey, and as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Roasted Root possible!

Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. WHAT! I got sweaty palms just reading your story because nooo thank you verymuch I will stay a million feet away from that thing. Anywho, extracts in boozy drinks sound like a brilliant idea (personally I would drink vanilla extract straight up if it was socially acceptable) and I am totally on board with getting my does of Vitamin C in these. Happy Friday friend! xoxo

  2. So gorgeous! I love these photos. I have a bottle of lemon extract and LOVE using it in baking, but never thought to use it in a drink. Brilliant! Pinning 🙂

  3. What a tale! My jog/hike would have ended right there. No scuzi here. Love the cocktail. (Am bummed myself about Blake and Miranda.)

  4. As a card carrying Indoor Girl, I am surprised you kept running and kept your cool for the most part. I would have probably just started crying and turned around and gone home to have a few of these cocktails!

  5. I’m no fan of snakes, but I think the coyote would have gave me a run for my money. Now that I’m in my 30s, I have a 2 cocktail limit, so I always make sure I’m getting my money’s worth. You had me at bourbon. Love this boozy beverage. Lay it on me!

  6. I’m still in awe that you lunged over a rattle snake! Um yeah, that’s pretty hard core. Especially considering that it sounded like a mean Joey Tribiani. 😉

    I love a good persnickity cocktail and to tell you the truth, it’s the only kind I’ll drink these days. I rarely go for gard liquor but when it’s mixed with a bunch of deliciousness and dressed up all pretty like this, I just can’t help it! The lemon thyme combo sounds SO refreshing!

    And I have to address the Miranda + Blake divorce before I go. WTF is happening to everybody?! It’s depressing the shit out of me.

  7. Well, I would have been in the midst of a panic attack if I were you…but you handled it tres tres well. Though, I’m glad you rewarded yourself for your calm behavior with these cocktails! So into this citrus herby cocktail experience.

  8. Snakes don’t usually bother me but I’m pretty sure I’d be experiencing full blown anxiety if I came across a huge rattler! This lemony thymy cocktail would be much needed after that experience. Great cocktail, Julia!

  9. Your instructions mention pure lemon extract but doesn’t list it in the ingredients. Is it parr of the recipe?

    1. Hi Anna! My apologies for the confusion – I used to add a little pure lemon extract to the cocktail but it can also be made with just fresh lemon juice. Hope you enjoy! xo

  10. im confused on the lemon extract. I do not see it in the ingredient list.

    “Add the pure lemon extract and refrigerate until ready to use. Note: Simple syrup can be saved in a sealed”

    1. Hi Tanya! My apologies for the confusion. When I originally shared the recipe, I used lemon extract. But after trying the cocktail with just lemon juice, I decided it didn’t need lemon extract so I omitted it from the ingredient list (but apparantly not the instructions). I have fixed the recipe to remove the notation about the extract. Thanks for catching that!