Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Infusiasm, Part II

The two infusions, much reduced.
In Infusiasm: Part I I merrily picked bucketsful of violets and honeysuckle, then poured boiling water over and let everything sit overnight. Today I finished the experiment.

The syrups turned out to be subtle but surprisingly flavorful. I wasn't sure what to expect from the violets, since one friend warned that commercial violet syrup, like Monin, tastes (in her esteemed opinion) like old lady perfume. I'm relieved to report this is not the case with the homemade version. It's floral and a little fruity without tasting like you ate a handful of potpourri.

The honeysuckle tastes like a garden with bees in it. It's so lovely I had to immediately mix a couple of drinks with each. First I tasted them both with sparkling water on ice (so refreshing!), then I got serious. Here's what I came up with:
A splash of lemon juice turned the violet
syrup from dingy purplish-gray to true violet.

Violet syrup with sparkling water, Cointreau, and a squeeze of lemon. So delicate and ladylike! Not at all perfumey like violet candy.

Honeysuckle syrup with Courvoisier and mint has a lot of personality. You get the floral honey and mint flavors with an edge of cognac that gives the drink some structure.

You can't go wrong mixing either of these with prosecco, too.

You may be wondering which one of these delightful cocktails accompanied me into my office to write this blog post. Gentle reader, it was the violet. Who can resist such a beautiful color?

I'm left with a few questions: Are the violets I used less potent than most? Does it matter that I collected the honeysuckle blossoms on a rainy day? I wonder if the syrups will be stronger if I pick them under precisely the right conditions. I'm happy with the results, but I plan to keep experimenting. Here's my recipe.

Flower Syrup
(Folks, make sure your flowers are safely edible before you start.)

2 cups packed blossoms
3 cups boiling water
1 cup sugar 
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pick your flowers, using only good quality fresh flowers. Cover with boiling water and let steep anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Strain through a sieve, then simmer gently until the infusion is reduced to 1 cup. Make a 1:1 sugar syrup by adding the sugar and the lemon juice. Pour into a glass jar and use right away or store in the fridge. These are safe for canning; simply put in a hot water bath for 15 minutes and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Peter Rabbit can't choose a favorite!


Stephanie said...

Wow, those cocktails sound amazing. I think I'm going to have to take you up on your prior offer!

Alison S. said...

These look amazing! I can't wait to go raid the honeysuckles now!

Kate said...

Thanks, Alison! I assure you it's worth the trouble.

Michaela said...