Ah, late summer. I love this time of year, as it means so many delicious fruits and vegetables are in season. Another sign of late summer are the crickets chirping in the fields. It’s comforting to hear them, even here in Bavaria.
As such, we have been enjoying dishes like tomato caprese salad with fresh basil from my garden and real Italian buffalo mozzarella.
Today I was leafing through a German recipe magazine, called Essen und Trinken and it had a recipe for Lemon Basil Syrup to use in beverages.
The recipe is as follows:
Combine the juice of two lemons, 150 ml of water (2/3 cup) and four tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil, then simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and then add five stems of fresh basil. Steep for half an hour and let cool.
The recipe book suggested mixing the syrup with champagne or sparkling mineral water for a refreshing treat. Remove the basil leaves after they are done steeping of course, but you can add some fresh basil as a garnish if you wish.
Since I hear that fancy cocktails with basil flavor are all the rage, I decided to give this simple syrup a try.
However, it occurred to me that it might be fun and interesting to try other herbs instead of basil. What about mint? Or oregano? Maybe coriander greens (cilantro)?
One plant in my garden, an herb which is popular in herbal tisanes here in Germany, is Zitronenmelisse, or Lemon Balm. I decided to use it in place of the basil. It is steeping at the moment, so later I will report on how it turns out.
But I thought I would share this recipe as it can be used and adapted in so many different ways. In addition to champagne and sparkling water, I may try it as a martini ingredient, or perhaps with white wine and sparkling water to make a Weinschorle.
As it’s the end of summer, what better way to relax than with a sophisticated, simple and refreshing beverage?
edited to add: I’m happy to report that my Lemon-Lemon Balm syrup is a success! It’s lemony, herby and refreshing in the Grüner Veltliner wine that I’m sipping at the moment.