Capture the essence of summer in sweet herbal simple syrups to flavor your drinks and desserts all season long. I'll show you how easy they are to make, using five common garden herbs and one item from your pantry.
Making Herb-Infused Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is what you get when you dissolve sugar in water. Bartenders and cooks use it as a liquid sweetener in everything from cocktails to cakes. Add a handful of herbs, and you're taking it from simply sweet to fragrantly fabulous.
For herb-infused syrup, you'll follow the basic instructions for making simple syrup. I used the ratio of 1 cup water to 1 cup white sugar, and added freshly picked garden herbs from my garden. A few helpful tips:
- Use organically grown herbs to avoid pesticides and contaminants.
- Wash herbs thoroughly to remove soil and the itty bitty critters lurking in the nooks and crannies. You'd be surprised what rinses out from the most pristine-looking cuttings.
- I used white sugar because I like the way the herbs give a pale green tinge to the simple syrup. If you choose to use raw sugar, your syrup will take on a more amber tone.
- Sterilize your glass jars (and lids) before filling them with syrup. This helps the syrup last longer in the fridge.
- Strain out all of the solids before stashing the cooled syrup in the fridge, otherwise you could encourage mold and off flavors to develop.
- Make small batches so you can get through a whole jar of simple syrup within a month.
5 Herbal Simple Syrups
Here are easy recipes to get you started, plus ideas for using it up:
- Double a recipe to churn into a sorbet.
- Use it to sweeten iced tea or add a new dimension to a pitcher of lemonade.
- Brush it between cake layers to add moistness and flavor.
- Use it alone or with yogurt to dress fruit salads.
- Mix it with sparkling water or tonic for a refreshing homemade soda.
1. Rosemary Simple Syrup
Like the essence of a pine-scented hot summer's day distilled into syrup form. Heavenly in drinks and sorbets.
2. Basil Simple Syrup
I grow three different kinds of basil in my garden for subtle flavor variations.
3. Lavender Simple Syrup
The floral undertones play well with citrus. In other words, your lemonade needs this.
4. Lemon Verbena Simple Syrup
The aroma is as refreshing as the taste. Crush the leaves to make your whole kitchen smell amazing.
5. Mint Simple Syrup
Like the basil syrup, you can get lots of flavor variations. Try pineapple mint, chocolate mint, peppermint, spearmint, apple mint...you get the picture.
Get ideas for using flavored simple syrups in cocktails and mocktails.