Fresh herbs are abundant this time of year (unless you’ve forgotten to water them. Rest in peace Chocolate Mint.). Luckily, you can usually find them at your local farmers markets or grocery stores. But whether you grow your own or purchase a bundle, it always seems like you have more left over than you actually use. Making a homemade syrup is a fast, easy and delicious way to use herbs that would go to waste otherwise.
“Simple syrup” is made by dissolving equal parts sugar and water together by volume (e.g. 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water). For extra-sweet syrups, you can actually dissolve up to 2 cups of granulated sugar into 1 cup of water (put on your science nerd hat and read this article to understand why). You can also make a more mild syrup by cutting the sugar back to 1/2 parts to 1 part water. This is just the start; once you decide your preferred level of sweetness, you can add one or more of all sorts of flavorings. A quick browse around the interweb will result in hundreds of ideas, using everything from herbs and spices to hot peppers to flowers. Here, here and here are a couple of references to get you started.
Syrups are used to sweeten anything from lemonade to tea to mixed alcoholic drinks. I will even just mix a little syrup with ice water and lime or lemon juice when my sweet tooth is rearing it’s ugly head. Given that I am 6 months pregnant, I couldn’t test this syrup with the hard stuff, but I am sure it would taste great with tequila or vodka. Do me a favor – try this in a mixed drink, report back and then come celebrate with me once I am no longer sharing my body with a tiny human.