Makes 4 cups syrup
Prep time: one hour, plus 24 hours to infuse
3 cups water
1 cup organic sugar
1 large lemon, zest pared off in a strip
3/4 oz. fresh thyme, leaves and stems
1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup mineral water
1.5 oz. vodka or 1/4 cup Chardonnay
Lemon-Thyme syrup, to taste
Fresh thyme stems for garnish
Two days before: In a small pot, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add the lemon-zest strip.
Place the thyme in a quart-size, wide-mouth canning jar. Pour the hot syrup over the thyme. Let the syrup cool uncovered until it reaches room temperature, then cover and let steep at room temperature for 24 hours.
The day before: Place a fine-mesh strainer over a pitcher or bowl and pour the syrup through it. Use a large spoon to press on the contents of the strainer and get as much syrup out of it as possible. Stir in the lemon juice. Place in a quart-size canning jar and refrigerate until time to serve.
To serve: For each spritzer, measure ½ cup mineral water, 1.5 ounces vodka or ¼ cup Chardonnay, and thyme-lemon syrup to taste over ice. Stir and garnish with fresh thyme stems.