Citrus & Herb Syrups

Last summer a friend of mine made us some mint lemonade from scratch, and it was awesome.  Inspired, I went home, went online, and made Basil Lemonade soon after.  That was the only time I made the lemonade (all that juicing!), but my imagination was captured by the recipe for simple syrup made using basil and lemons, and since then I’ve been making different kinds, expanding on the theme.  We also got a water carbonator for Christmas, which has eliminated our bottled fizzy water habit.  Pair it with my syrup and presto! We’ve got our own flavoured sodas.

For Lemon Basil Syrup:

4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 bunch basil leaves
1 lemon

Stir water and sugar together in a saucepan.  Add the basil leaves.  Peel the lemon in strips, add the rind to the mix, then juice the lemon and add the juice (don’t worry about the seeds).  Bring the mixture to a boil and stir a few times until sugar is dissolved.  Turn the heat off and leave the saucepan on the stove until the burner and the mixture has cooled.  Then pop the whole thing in the fridge and chill it for at least an hour.  When you’re ready to decant, strain it through a sieve and give it a good mash to make sure all the good flavour is extracted.

For Lime Mint Syrup:

4 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 bunch mint leaves
2 limes

Follow directions as for Lemon Basil Syrup, substituting mint for basil and limes for lemon (add the juice and rind of both limes).

Go beyond sparkling water:

Use the syrups to flavour lemonade or iced tea.  Margaritas? Mojitos? Yes.  What about adding them to fruit sorbets?  I made a watermelon raspberry sorbet a couple of weeks ago with the lime mint syrup.  Why yes, it was delicious, thank you.


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