April was a bit vicious here in parts of Texas this Spring, so we are hoping for a milder – yet pleasant – May.
Today was so beautiful! Our windows and sliding glass door were open to the slight breezes and 70ish weather. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. I was even able to get in long walk around our neighborhood. Perfect day in my book…
Our local farmer’s market re-opens on Saturday morning. I look forward to renewing my connections with the local farmers, bakers, and other merchants from last year. Inspiration flows around here with all that fresh food as a backdrop…
In preparation for summer I have been having fun with simple syrups. Just this week I made two new syrup infusions: one with lemon and basil; the other with lemon and jalapeño (for when you need to spice things up!).
The Lemon-Basil combo is one I have been making for some time. I like to keep it on hand for summer drinks like lemonade and iced-tea…it’s also lovely in cocktails. I play around with this syrup in Vodka and Gin based drinks, sometimes adding club soda to lighten things up. It’s versatile and I’m always finding new ways to use it.
The Lemon-Jalapeño syrup has provided a new level of fun here! It’s been the highlight of a new drink concoction I created just last week. I use Hendricks Gin as the base spirit, then add in lemon juice, the simple syrup and a touch of Pineapple juice. The syrup really gives it a kick! I then muddle in some pineapple chunks, basil and a jalapeño slice (because, really, can one have too much spice?) and it is served over ice. I do not strain it per my own preference, but if your taste buds like it strained then go for it!
I have the recipe below, and below that is the recipe for a simple syrup…would love your feedback if you try it. And if you have any of your own infusions I’d love to hear about them, too!
Lemon-Jalapeño Pineapple Cocktail
- 1.5 parts Hendricks Gin
- 1 part lemon juice
- 1 part lemon-jalapeño simple syrup
- 1 T fresh pineapple juice
- 1 chunk of fresh pineapple, 1 large basil leaf, 1 slice of jalapeño (for muddling)
Stir the Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup and Pineapple Juice together in a tall glass. Add the pineapple chunk, basil, and jalapeño slice to the glass and muddle them into the mixture. Add cubed ice and stir to chill the drink. Strain (if you prefer) into a cocktail glass. I like to keep the muddling mix and some of the ice in so it stays chilled…but there are no wrong ways as long as you like it!!
*simple syrup: I use equal parts water to sugar, bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Once cool I store it in the fridge. It should last for at least 2 weeks.
For a lemon simple syrup I add lemon peels with the water and sugar at the beginning. After it has boiled, I remove it from the heat. At that point it could stand as is, or you could add in basil or jalapeño and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes then strain. You can add in other herbs/spices, too. Perhaps Rosemary or Lavender. Maybe some Thyme…the possibilities are as high as your imagination will go…don’t be afraid to try other combinations. And please let me know if you do! 🙂
One of my other favorites is a spiced syrup. I infused it with red pepper flakes, star anise, cinnamon, and cardamom. I have used this in red sangrias to add some depth of flavor. Mmm, sangria…sigh…