Now For Something Completely Different...


Monty Python references aside, I thought it was time to switch things up a bit <insert your favorite Holy Grail line HERE>.


To the best of my ability (ha!) I try to grow an herb garden. Come most Augusts I'm just trying to keep them alive....with this summer being what it is, I started that strategy in June.


I'm also on a never-ending quest to drink more water. And I do count La Croix as water (I've come to understand that La Croix is quite the controversial topic).


And when I have friends/family over (not recently, obvi) part of the fun is to have "special" drinks. I have a combo of underage folks, teetotalers, and those who partake, so I like to serve options that are fun for everyone.


Where am I going with this???


Simple syrups!!!


The are SO SIMPLE to make and look sooooooooo fancy. I've been having fun incorporating them into everyday beverages (including seltzer waters) to pump up the bland-ish flavors.


"But aren't they made with a ton of sugar?"


Not necessarily!!! I've historically avoided simple syrups because of that, however I've been experimenting with sugar replacements and I found options that aren't (and don't taste like) chemicals.


Stevia and Monk Fruit are the winners!


I often will have spearmint and lavender simple syrups hanging out in my fridge to spruce up iced tea, seltzer waters, and lemonade.


I've also been experimenting with ingestible essential oils (check your manufacturer!) for various citrus flavors as using orange/lemon/grapefruit peels make syrups quite bitter due to the pith.



Here's the simple Simple Syrup recipe:


  • 1 Cup water

  • 1 Cup sweetener of choice

  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh herbs


1. Combine sweetener and water into a small saucepan

2. Over medium heat, bring to a boil and stir frequently until sweetener has dissolved

3. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer

4. Add herbs and let simmer with liquid for one minute while stirring constantly

5. Remove from heat and cool on counter, allowing herbs to continue to steep in syrup for at least 30-60 minutes (longer is always better)

6. Remove herbs (or strain if needed), place in airtight container, keep in refrigerator up to one week

7. Add approximately 1 tbsp to each single-serving beverage (more/less to taste)


One of my favorite herbs to use these days is Rosemary, both because it's a bit more unusual and -- because it's available year round -- I can make a spiffy simple syrup in the winter!


I wanted to share a recipe I made for my newest sister-in-law last year. She loved so much that she made it her signature cocktail (and mocktail) at her wedding!



Rosemary Grapefruit Refresher (makes 2 cocktails)


Ingredients:


Rosemary Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup sugar (or stevia/monk fruit)

  • ¼ cup rosemary, stripped from stems


*** Be sure to purchase unsweetened grapefruit juice (which can be difficult to find). The rosemary simple syrup provides ample sweetness and a dry juice pairs much better with vodka (or the aromatic "juniperness" of the gin).


First, make the rosemary simple syrup per the above instructions. With rosemary it's important to strip the leaves from the stem so the syrup won't get "woody" or bitter -- you'll likely have to strain the syrup through cheesecloth or a small strainer to remove the leaves.


Next:


1. Combine vodka (or gin), grapefruit juice, and rosemary simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice.

2. Shake vigorously to combine.

3. Pour into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of club soda and garnish with rosemary sprig.



But what about a mocktail option?


For one beverage:

  • 4 oz. unsweetened grapefruit juice

  • 1 tbsp rosemary simple syrup, see below

  • 4 oz. Sprite/Slice/7Up (more or less to taste)

Combine grapefruit juice and rosemary simple syrup in a Collins glass, stir to combine. Add ice, gently pour in soda, and stir. Add rosemary sprigs for garnish.


** I found that using a sweet soda (not club, and yes I do use diet) as a mixer goes over better with the younger crowd (and also for myself). Typically I'm a ginger-ale-over-lemon/lime-soda kind of lady, but trust me, not this time around!

Do you tend to keep simple syrups on the ready? Do you think you're ready to give it a first go?


I'd love to know which herbs or aromatic options and combinations (my kiddo's working on a rose one) you create, I like keeping my fridge well-stocked for all of the La Croix I've been going through these days!


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