Make Something Else From Your Herb Garden
Make some simple syrup for recipes, cocktails, and easy desserts. Here is how to find another use for your prolific herb garden. If you grow herbs in your garden, on pots on the patio, or in the kitchen window, you have plenty of material to work with. Make rosemary-infused syrups, and other, herbal flavors and citrus, fruit, peppers, and your favorite sugar.
Another Use For Your Herb Garden
Simple Is The Word
Can you boil water? Then you can make simple syrup. It is equal parts water and granulated sugar. This liquified sweetener is easier to mix into any cold beverage as well as fruit and baked goods. But then things get interesting. What you add to your syrup will make it captivating and delicious.
What It Is
- Equal amounts of sugar and water, simmered (not boiled) together, cooled and stored—1:1 ratio.
- Rich simple syrup, make this with twice the sugar. The result is more syrupy and fills the mouth. Bartenders love to work with this. See what suits you—2:1 ratio.
- Infused simple syrup, add another flavor element to your syrup.
What Sugar To Use
- Plain white granulated sugar, always available and easy to use
- Demerara sugar-a raw cane sugar is made from the first pressing of the sugar cane. It has a large grain, a pale gold color, and a crunchy texture. It will give your syrup a distinctive flavor of molasses, toffee, and coffee.
- You can substitute light brown sugar, which will give a mild molasses and caramel taste. Try it in coffee or winter cocktails.
Preparing And Storing The Syrup
- Wash the herbs and pat dry or air dry.
- Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan, over medium heat, stir, and when liquified, cool down.
- Allow The syrup to cool for about 20 minutes.
- Strain the syrup using a fine strainer and/or cheesecloth.
- Store in glass jars with a tight seal. It should last for a month in the refrigerator.
How To Use Your Simple Syrup
- Add to cocktails with a sweet element. Some examples might be, Mojito, Mai Tai, Daiquiri, Bramble, Lemon Drop Martini, Amaretto Sour, Whisky Sour.
- Cold summer beverages, lemonade, limeade, fruit limeade
- Sorbet floats
- Sparkling water
- dress a fruit salad with herb simple syrup, alone or with yogurt
- Add flavor and moisture between cake layers
- Make your own soda with sparkling water and simple syrup
- Serve over ice cream.
- Topping for cake
- Fruit desserts and salads
Some Herb Ideas
Quantities are suggestions for volume of one cup water to one or two cups of sugar.
- Basil, 5 sprigs (about 5-6″ long). Try over fruit or in a gin gimlet.
- Rosemary, 4 sprigs. Try this with vodka, gin, or white rum.
- Thyme, 6 sprigs. Use with gin, vodka, or bourbon cocktails: cocktails, lemonade, ice cream, and fruit.
- Bay Leaves, 8 leaves. Tea, hot or iced, with dark rum and soda.
- Lemongrass syrup. Use in a mint julep or over mango and papaya.
Simple Syrup-Herbs Plus
- Lemon rind with thyme or basil.
- Jalapeno slices with thyme; use this with a Margarita or sparkling water on a hot day.
- Rosemary and ginger, use with sparkling water and lime juice.
- Thyme and ginger.
- Raspberry, blueberry simple syrup. For one cup of water and sugar, add 1/4 cup of raspberries and blueberries, and 6 basil leaves. Use over ice cream or yogurt and fruit or sparkling water.
Some Good Ideas From A Mixologist
This article is an interview with Pernod Ricard USA’s chief mixologist. He makes some important points about using your simple syrup in cocktails.
On the subject of herb syrups he prefers to let the syrup cool to room temperature, add the herbs., let them steep like tea and remove. This prevents damaging the herbs. Here is the whole interview. I found it very helpful, I hope you do too!