It’s been crazy around here. Not only did I pick up a second job to handle my car repairs, One of my fur babies ( a.k.a. my spoiled dogs) became really ill, and we’ve had tons of activity improving the house and spending time with friends and family. Basically the blog has been neglected. I know, I know. I should go sit in the corner ashamed. But hey, there is always an appropriate time to get back into the swing of things no matter how off track we can get in our busy lives. I decided that it felt more than appropriate to feature a new cocktail recipe to celebrate the return from my brief, yet necessary, hiatus.
This recipe came to me in an inventive moment while I was scouring the bare cabinets… Yes, I didn;t do much grocery shopping during my hiatus either. Shame shame.
However, we had cherries, sugar, and I stumbled on some gin in the liquor cabinet….
Gin Cherries? No
And while a basic sherry simple syrup may have worked, I felt that it needed something extra, different, to cut the sweet and additional flavor profiles. I was sitting on the porch drinking my espresso (from my new espresso machine by the way… another thing I was up to during my absence) and I glanced at the lemongrass I had planted in the spring.
So I developed this recipe for an easy simple syrup that was perfect for creating the celebratory cocktails (which I’ll be sharing later this week)
This simple syrup is not only great for cocktails, but great for iced teas, hot teas, or even in your morning cup of joe.
Lemongrass is a stiff grass native to india. It has a pronounced citrusy flavor and aroma and valued in Southeast-Asia Cuisines. It has many uses in the culinary world, but it is also said to have some medicinal properties. It’s been used to clear nausea and even help with depression. I planted it near the front porch this spring to help ward off mosquitos, as it has a citronella quality and the bugs aren’t all to fond of it. Most of it’s flavor is comprised in the thick stalks. It can be found at some gofers in it’s fresh pale green talk form, or dried and powdered.Cherry Lemongrass Simple Syrup
I harvested a few stalks from my flower bed, cleaned them and trimmed off the green spiky leaves and woody portion. I then thinly cut the prepared stalks on a bias and it was ready to marry with those plump red cherries.
Simple is an understatement for this recipe. It’s not called simple syrup for no reason. Throw it all in a sauce pan – 2 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh lemongrass, 2 cups bing cherries, and 2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice (for color, or you can use red food coloring).
The fun part is mashing up all the cherry pits and part while it simmers. It helps to bring out all of that cherry flavor, that melds so wonderfully with the lemongrass. After a brief smashing, let the pot o’ flavor simmer for about 15 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it cool and slightly steep of 30 minutes
After the 30 minutes of hanging out and smelling delicious, it needs to be strained through a fine mesh strainer (discarding the solids) and placed in a airtight container or jar. Refrigerate for up to 3 months and enjoy at any moment a citrusy cherry syrup feels appropriate.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh lemongrass
- 2 cups bing cherries (no need to pit them as the syrup is strained later)
- *optional - 2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice or red food coloring
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan of medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer.
- Carefully mash down the cherries into the mixture, using a potato masher or back of a large fork. This releases the juices to build the cherry flavor in the syrup.
- After mashing slightly, let simmer, uncovered, for 15 min. (keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over)
- Remove from the heat. Let cool for 30 minutes.
- After cooling, strain through a fine mesh strainer, reserving the syrup, and discarding the solids.
- Place in an airtight container or jar, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.