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Archive for March 31st, 2009

with lavender plant

 

In thinking about Passover and adapting some recipes for that looming, food-centric week, and recollecting a few Passover chol hamoeds spent in Miami where some clubs serve special Passover drinks (never very tasty, though), I thought I would share a very easy method for sweetening drinks, cocktails the “old-fashoined” way. This is very much aligned with my “Passover philosophy” of going back to basics and also brings me a little bit closer to figuring out how to recreate the lovely cocktails I had last week.

Simple syrup is just a well-saturated mix of water and sugar. Nothing more to it. Pretty simple! I believe it’s called a “simple” syrup because it isn’t maple or some syrup found in nature. But, I’m not sure.

Simple Simple Syrup

simple simple syrup close-up

Purists will say that the water to sugar ratio should be 1:1. I’ve seen it diluted down to 2:1 and this is what I tried for my first experiment since I was thinking about that not-too-sweet Lavender Cosmo that I had last week. Adjust to taste — a 1:1 is probably best for cocktails when you’re concerned about not diluting the drink too much.

- Cold water (I use tap)

- Granulated sugar (plain white is just fine)

Boil cold water. Add sugar. Adjust heat to low and stir mixture until sugar is completely dissolved. That’s it. Très simple!

immediately after adding ~2T lavender

immediately after adding ~2T lavender

 

after 20 minutes of infusing, the lavender is turning the syrup slightly yellow

after 20 minutes of infusing, the lavender is turning the syrup slightly yellow

 

eventually all of the color drains from the lavender into the syrup, turning the syrup into a rosy, translucent liquid to match my mahogany table

eventually all of the color drains from the lavender into the syrup, turning the syrup into a rosy liquid to (sort of) match my mahogany table

Once the syrup has cooled, close with a stopper (or a stopper with a spout) and refrigerate. You should probably drain the herbs out too.  That’s if you didn’t infuse your herbs in the bottle you want to store the syrup in. Whoops — my bad! I’ll probably use this infused syrup for everything from tea (hot and iced) to cosmos over the next few days, so it should be fine. But in the future, fresh leaves will likely not fare well after a day.

A few tricks and ideas:

- I made my syrup in a kettle — it was easier to pour into bottles since I only have a small funnel (yes, it is from the flask that I bought and have never used … but I am tempted to bring it on a date!)

- I let my syrup cool in the bottles — probably not the best idea because your bottles can shatter. Whoops! Plus, if you want to infuse fresh basil or mint and then want to strain — best to strain into the bottle. I didn’t quite think that one through.

- Infusing infusing infusing – I just threw about 2 T of dried lavender buds into one of the bottles and kept the other one “pure” for my iced tea. But you can try a whole host of different herbs and spices for different cocktails, sorbets, etc. Vanilla, roses petals, chile peppers (I like spicy sweet), mint, basil, rosemary…the list goes on and on.

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