Lemon and herb syrup for beverages

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.

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5 responses to “Lemon and herb syrup for beverages

  1. *waves* It’s astrobabe from the lush forum.

    So since i saw the topic. . .have you tried using it in a cake? I ask because earlier this summer I made a lemon polenta cake that was infused with a lemon-thyme simple syrup like this. It was oh so very good. And I could see doing a simple pound cake with the same kinda of syrup for flavor as well.

    • bowmansinbavaria

      Hi Erin! What a wonderful idea! Would you recommend pouring the syrup over the cake while it is still warm, in the cake pan? I may have to make a lemon pound cake this weekend for this express purpose.

      And, thank you for reading. 🙂

  2. I’ve done it warm though while my cake is on the cooling rack. I tried brushing on the syrup but didn’t feel it was as efficient as just pouring the syrup over the cake. I poured a couple times with a rest period in between so the cake could soak up the syrup rather than have it get over-syrup’ed and have it dripping on the counter (because I had already done that with the coconut cream and run mixture for the coconut cake earlier in the day!).

    We also used the leftiver lemon-thyme simple syrup for making lemon drop martinis as well.

  3. I love this idea. I bet a mint infused simple syrup would be great for cocktails and holiday baking.

    Speaking of the holidays, I know it’s early but do you have everything you need for your holiday cooking and baking? I’ve heard it can be difficult to get things like canned pumpkin in Germany.

    • bowmansinbavaria

      Thank you for visiting and reading my blog!

      I will ask my American neighbor if I can find pumpkin pie filling here; if not, that would be much appreciated! It won’t be a proper Thanksgiving in November without the pumpkin pie. Mmmmm. I am dreaming of it, now. 🙂

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