Spring is here, and boy does my Sodastream know it! This is the time of year when my reflex to pop the kettle on starts to dull, and instead I reach for something cold and refreshing. Naturally, this led to the inspiration for this week's recipe: flavoured syrups for cocktails, mocktails and desserts!
Over the next few weeks it's our mission at Village Wholefoods HQ to help you with some easy summer entertaining ideas, and sprinkle a little holiday season magic over simple family meals.
The syrup recipes we're sharing here are a versatile bunch which can be used to make simple chilled drinks, cocktails or mocktails. They can be used as sauce for cakes, crepes and desserts. They are also a fantastic holiday season gift.
Makes approx. 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 min; Cook Time: 25 min
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp of one of the following:
Earl Grey tea leaves
dried edible Lavender Flowers
Hibiscus Tea Leaves
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Add the Tea Leaves or Petals of your choice. Stir them in, then simmer for a further 5 mins.
Turn off the heat and leave the mixture to steep for 10-15 mins.
Use a fine sieve, tea strainer or nut milk bag over a bowl or jug to strain the liquid.
Discard the petals and leaves. Pour the liquid into a small bottle with a lid. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Extend the life of these syrups by freezing in ice cube trays. Thaw as needed to make drinks, or simply pop the frozen syrup cubes straight into a glass of still or soda water.
Hibiscus tea is a great substitute for grenadine in drinks like Shirley Temples and punches.
PIMP MY RECIPE
Add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your drink when using these syrups to really elevate into the flavours. The acidity perfectly balances the floral headiness of the syrup.
Add 1 tsp vanilla extract when syrup is almost done simmering to add another delightful dimension to the syrups
Try drizzling the syrups over pancakes or cakes. A lemon cake drizzled with lavender or hibiscus syrup is seriously good, as are pancakes or crepes with earl grey syrup.
Experiment with different teas or dried edible flowers. Try English Breakfast, lemon myrtle, rose petals or chamomile.
Dried herbs and spices also make interesting syrups to add a unique twist to cocktails and mocktails. Think thyme, rosemary, basil or mint. Chai spice mix made into a syrup makes a lovely addition to iced chocolate and coffee.
Make cocktails! Here are my go-to concoctions. Omit the alcohol to make delicious mocktails.
In a highball, combine:
1 measure gin
1 tbsp Earl Grey syrup
1 squeeze fresh lemon or lime
Enough soda water to almost fill glass.
Stir and enjoy
1 measure white rum
1 tbsp lavender syrup
1 generous squeeze lime juice
8-10 mint leaves
Chilled soda water
Mix everything but the soda water together in a highball glass, muddle with a spoon to release the mint flavours. Add the soda water to almost fill the glass.
Orange slice to garnish
Put some ice cubes and q tbsp hibiscus syrup in a wine glass and half fill the glass with prosecco. Finish with a splash of soda water. Garnish with an orange slice if you fancy.