Lemon & Basil Simple Syrup

Despite the cooler, cloudier weather this week I’m still pressing forward with my ’embrace summer’ mentality.  And well, here it is; Lemon & Basil Simple Syrup.  Easy and uncomplicated to make, this mixes amazingly well with gin or vodka and tonic (well duh) or equally, and possibly my new favourite daytime drink- iced coffee.

I made it on a whim, trying to come up with an interesting ‘mocktail’ alternative for a brunch we hosted last weekend.  It was going to be lemonade but I ran out of time and it ended up being used as a cordial alternative with soda water.  Still tasty so no points lost for the lack of time management.DSC_0116

I had a lot leftover (the recipe makes a ton- 2 jam jars worth!) so have spent the week experimenting. It’s great in unsweetened iced tea as well as in cocktails, but by far my favourite combination so far is in iced coffee.  Something about the  smooth coffee flavour (ahem, also the caffeine for those currently waking at 5:30am) plus the sweetness from the sugar, sour from the lemon zest, and the hint of basil… it’s summer in a glass. This drink feels like one of those super over-priced fancy schmancy coffee shop drinks.  I feel like I’ve hacked the system!DSC_0137

Eventually we may get to the lemonade, but as it contains no caffeine I think I may just stick to the coffee & cocktail combo for now.  It’s working out pretty well so far.

Lemon Basil Simple Syrup from Epicurious

Ingredients

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves & sprigs

2 cups sugar

9, 4″ x 1″ lemon peel strips

Method

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium sized saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Then remove from heat, cover and cool for 1 hour, or until room temperature.
Once the liquid has cooled, pour into a jar or airtight container and chill in the fridge for up to 2 hours.  Pass through a sieve, making sure to squeeze out all of the moisture from the basil leaves and lemon peel.
Use as you like- in your iced coffees and teas during the day, and in your cocktails by night.  Keeps well in the fridge for up to 1 week.
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