Infused Syrups

Sugar and SpiceJars of infused herb and spice syrups.

With our garden reaching the end of the season we’ve been enjoying all the spoils of a long hot summer. The basil plants are bigger than ever, the hot peppers are fueling our fierce salsa habit, the thyme, oregano and sage keep our summer barbecues full of flavor.

Inspired by the these sweet and savory flavors, I decided to take happy hour into the kitchen. With a collection of fresh and dried herbs and spices I came up with a few interesting syrup infusions and some cocktails to go with them:

“The Indian Summer”
A really refreshing – yet complex – combination of herb, spice and citrus. I love the lingering subtle heat of the peppercorn.

  • 2 oz. gin (or vodka if you must)
  • 1 oz basil lemon pepper syrup (see recipe below)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all ingredients in a highball glass full of ice, top with soda water and stir well. Garnish with lemon twist.

Green Tea Soda (*non-alcoholic)
A lightly flavored tea infused drink. Sort of like a virgin Pimm’s Cup.

  • 1 tbs green tea & orange syrup (see recipe below)
  • soda water
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Combine ingredients in tall glass full of ice, stir well and garnish with mint sprig or cucumber slice.
*For an adult version, try this with a splash of bourbon for a Kentucky sweet-tea variation.

Green Tea & Orange Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 green tea bags
  • Peel of 1 small orange (orange skin only)

Heat the water in a medium saucepan until just boiling. Add sugar and orange peel and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and add the tea bags, cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags and orange peel and strain into a glass jar, with airtight lid. Keeps refrigerated for about 2 weeks.

Basil, Lemon & Peppercorn Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves, whole
  • Peel of 1 lemon (avoid using white layer)
  • 2 tbs. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Heat the water in a medium saucepan until just boiling. Add sugar, basil, lemon juice, peel and peppercorn and stir until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat, cover and let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a glass jar, with airtight lid. Keeps refrigerated for about 2 weeks.

These syrup recipes blend wonderfully with spirits but equally well with club soda for a midday cooler. Have a favorite infused syrup? Let us know in the comments, find us on Twitter or post it for our Facebook friends.

Cheers, and be safe!

All photos  2012, Gary Allard / Gary Allard.com

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