Simple Syrup Four Ways

Several months ago, my family and I went to Board Room Spirits, which is a local distillery near my hometown. It was there that I enjoyed one of the best Moscow Mules that I’ve ever had. I asked them what their secret was, and thankfully, they indulged me. In lieu of ginger beer, which can be way too sweet for my taste, they use house-made ginger simple syrup and club soda. They were even kind enough to write down their recipe for me. As you can imagine, making my own has been on my to-do list since.

Then, my friend Lauren and I were at Mission Taqueria for happy hour last week. We enjoyed some amazing tequila-based craft cocktails. Sitting at the bar, we were able to admire their simple syrup collection, which sparked the idea to make our own. Our ideas spiraled out of control, and we were left with four simple syrups that we wanted to create: basil, ginger, jalapeño, and mint. We purchased some squeeze bottles from Amazon and got together yesterday to bring our ideas to life. They turned out fantastic!

The beauty of making flavored simple syrup is that it is incredibly easy. All it entails is a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, as well as the ingredient that you’d like to infuse. It’s not an exact science by any means. For instance, if you prefer mild spice, use fewer jalapeños, and if prefer intense heat, use more. Also, since I’m not a huge fan of sweet drinks, these syrups are perfect as they add just the right amount of savory flavor. Now, don’t be surprised if you notice me posting a ton of cocktail recipes in the near future. ;)

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BASIL SIMPLE SYRUP

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan
  • Bring to a rapid boil for approximately 5 minutes
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer
  • Pour into a squeeze bottle and label
  • Discard solid ingredients

GINGER SIMPLE SYRUP

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 lb. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thin

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan
  • Bring to a rapid boil for approximately 5 minutes
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer
  • Pour into a squeeze bottle and label
  • Discard solid ingredients

JALAPEÑO SIMPLE SYRUP

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 4 small jalapeño peppers, sliced thin

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan
  • Bring to a rapid boil for approximately 5 minutes
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer
  • Pour into a squeeze bottle and label
  • Discard solid ingredients

MINT SIMPLE SYRUP

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan
  • Bring to a rapid boil for approximately 5 minutes
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer
  • Pour into a squeeze bottle and label
  • Discard solid ingredients

Grapefruit and Lavender Lemonade

Truth be told, this lemonade is the result of me trying to use up a bunch of lemons and grapefruits prior to vacation. I decided to add lavender because lavender lemonade is amazing! I had it once at a local cafè and I’ll never forget it.

Because grapefruit is naturally sweeter than lemons, the amount of cane sugar that I added is negligible compared to classic lemonade recipes. The end result is a relatively healthy, super refreshing summer beverage. And, since it’s Friday it can most certainly be used as a mixer. Personally, I think it would taste fabulous with gin. Happy weekend, guys!

Note: Recipe yields 1 liter of lemonade.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tbsp. dried lavender
  • 2/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups cold water

What you’ll do:

  • Combine the sugar and hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved
  • Add the lavender to a tea infuser and allow to steep in the hot liquid for about 10 minutes
  • Remove the infuser and discard the lavender
  • Add the infusion to a liter bottle along with the grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and cold water
  • Stir until combined and store in the refrigerator until chilled
  • Serve over ice and enjoy!

Top 10 Food and Beverage Instagram Accounts

People often ask me where my love of food and beverage comes from. The reason is threefold:

  1. My mom’s side of the family is obsessed with food. As such, it’s something that I grew up with. It is through my family that I learned that food is a surefire way to get people together and make memories around the table.
  2. I was a server at several upscale restaurants from the ages of 15 to 24. Those experiences are where my interest in obscure ingredients and the technical aspects of cooking and baking grew even deeper.
  3. I follow many incredible food- and beverage-related accounts on Instagram. It is through these that I seek inspiration and learn something new almost every day. When I explain this reason to people, the next question is typically, “Which are some of your favorite accounts to follow?” After struggling to come up with some of my favorite accounts on the fly, I was inspired to create an organized and well-thought-out list.

I must say that compiling this list wasn’t easy. To narrow it down to just 10 of my favorite accounts was a challenge. While each of the accounts that I selected has its own flair, you’ll probably notice that I am drawn to fresh and local ingredients, stunning photography, vibrant colors, and creative twists on classics. What I ultimately love about all of these accounts is that they make it quite obvious that healthy food doesn’t have to be limiting or boring. In fact, the food and beverage featured in these accounts are anything but.

So, in no particular order…

Alpha Foodie

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDDE7hpK2cy/?taken-by=alphafoodie&hl=en

Half Baked Harvest

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDMQSZbgOn5/?taken-by=halfbakedharvest&hl=en

Cravings in Amsterdam

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCBfFiBqW_P/?taken-by=cravingsinamsterdam&hl=en

Feed Me Dearly

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDi3lXxMJ9u/?taken-by=feedmedearly&hl=en

Ful-filled

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCtNFEoBk3M/?taken-by=ful.filled&hl=en

Madeline Lu

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCaQm0qlZcN/?taken-by=lumadeline&hl=en

Reclaiming Yesterday

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCwT5x8Fw1Q/?taken-by=reclaimingyesterday&hl=en

The Delicious Life

https://www.instagram.com/p/BC_lRanjr_2/?taken-by=thedelicious&hl=en

Circa Happy

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBnFyCgvAhd/?taken-by=circahappy&hl=en

Elsa’s Wholesome Life

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBxA2JOP66r/?taken-by=elsas_wholesomelife&hl=en

DIY Rosewater

A friend, Arielle, reached out to me to see if I had any good techniques for making rosewater at home. At the time, I had no idea, but being that I love rosewater in cocktails, I was up for the challenge. I researched a variety of techniques and am sharing what I believe to be the simplest, yet most effective method. This project requires only three ingredients and takes only 15 minutes from start to finish.

Aside from being super yummy in cocktails, rosewater can be found in a number of natural beauty products due to its countless benefits for skin and hair. To learn more about these benefits and for more ideas regarding how to incorporate rosewater into your beauty regime, click here

I must note that a 4 oz. bottle of rosewater spray that I purchased several months back had a price tag of more than $10. Meanwhile, the stunning bunch of spray roses that I bought for the purpose of this project cost me only $6. Even more impressive, those roses yielded a whopping 32 oz. of product. I’ll let you do the math. Needless to say, it is completely worthwhile to make your own rosewater.

What other uses do you know of for rosewater? I’d love to hear about any and all ways of putting this beautiful elixir to use!

Note: I used spray roses because they are half the cost of regular roses, but yield the same amount of petals that a bouquet of regular roses would. Either variety will work perfectly. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch of spray roses
  • 4 cups of distilled water
  • 2 tbsp. of premium vodka to preserve freshness (optional but recommended)
  • A quart-sized mason jar

What you’ll do:

  • Remove the petals from the stems and place into a colander; rinse thoroughly
  • Add the petals and distilled water to a medium pot; simmer on low to medium heat for approximately five minutes, or until the petals have lost their vibrant color
  • Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth; discard the cheesecloth and petals
  • Stir in the vodka, pour into a quart-sized mason jar, and store in the fridge for up to one month

Strawberry, Cucumber, and Mint Pimm’s Cup

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If you’ve dined at a restaurant that is even somewhat trendy over the past few years, you know that Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is everywhere. You’d think that the Pimm’s brand is relatively new given its recent popularity, but as it turns out, Pimm’s has made a pretty impressive comeback. The company, and Pimm’s No. 1 Cup specifically, dates back to the 1800s!

While cups 1-6, each based on a different varietal of liquor, have existed at one point or another, No. 1 Cup is the only cup to be mass produced to this day. And for good reason. It’s a gin-based liquor infused with a complex variety of herbs, spices, and liquors.

Pimm’s No. 1 Cup is largely appealing due to the fact that it is almost always paired with citrus-infused sparkling water and an interesting combination of fresh fruit, resulting in an extremely refreshing cocktail. Further, the different combinations of fruit that can be used are endless. 

At this point, I think it goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. While it is great year-round, I particularly love it in the summer, when fresh fruit is abundant. Thus, with summer’s end right around the corner (*sigh*), I thought I’d share one of my favorite preparations with you guys. Happy Friyay!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 lime slices
  • 5 strawberry slices
  • 5 cucumber slices
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 3 oz. Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
  • Sparkling water

What you’ll do:

  • Place the lime, strawberry, cucumber, and mint in the bottom of a highball glass; generously muddle
  • Next, place the the ice cubes on top of the aforementioned ingredients; pour the Pimm’s, followed by the sparkling water, over the ice
  • Stir and garnish as desired

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