I’m no mixologist, but the sights, aromas and flavors that abound in the garden practically implore one to play bartender for a day.
Heady Garden Flavors
Actually it’s true I’m not much for mixing a cocktail (wine drinker!) let alone creating one, but when friends and family gather at our house we do use some of our garden bounty to accessorize their creations. Cucumber, cherry tomato, scallion, pepper, green beans, and radishes are all excellent garnishes for a Bloody Mary!
We use our mint for Mojitos, and fresh basil muddled with gin, fresh lime and simple syrup to create a refreshing gimlet. I blend fresh raspberries or strawberries into margaritas.
Lavender or rosemary simple syrup adds some je ne sais quoi to ordinary lemonade; as does a splash of berry syrup made fresh from the garden.
For non-alcoholic drinks, I plunge fresh cucumber or berries into ice water, take ice tea up a notch with raspberries, and make blended smoothies with yogurt, berries, spinach and anything else I can think of.
If I ever get a wild hair, I’m thinking I need to come up with something to do with goji berries. Perhaps a sangria? Yes, they are good for you but their flavor is an acquired one so I think whatever I attempt to do with them should be sweet, very sweet.
I did come across a recipe for a lilac lemon drop martini which sounds enticing; given that I live in the Lilac City. I better get on that. The lilacs are in glorious full bloom and won’t last long.
By the way, the dark purple lilacs have a more, well, lilac-like flavor than other varieties. To make simple syrup, remove just the colored blooms from the stem and leaves and wash them. Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat and add the lilac florets. Let steep for about five minutes. Strain out the florets.
The “hard” part of this cocktail is finished. Cool the syrup and commence cocktailing. If you like (I like) rim a martini glass with granulated sugar. Pour 1.5 oz vodka, Â¾ oz. fresh lemon juice, and Â½ oz lilac simple syrup into a shaker.
Shake well and stain into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
In the interest of this blog, I did indeed make this and the results are extraordinary. The citrus and floral pairing are perfection. I just wish I had a lemon tree”¦