It's kind of taken me by surprise just how much fun I've been having making these simple syrups lately. What started as a plan to get ginger syrup reviewed (the state requires certain shelf stable foods to undergo scientific review to be sure they are safe) so that I can use it in some of my jams, has exploded into a rainbow of deliciousness!
When my lavender was blooming last month, I decided on a whim to try and make some lavender syrup. It turned out so well, that I started looking around to see what else I had to try. I planted five different types of basil this year with the intent of crystallizing the leaves. This is something I fiddled with a little last year, but I only had sweet and cinnamon basil. I wanted to broaden the flavor options this year. I haven't gotten around to making any of those crystallized leaves, but every time I'm in the garden, one of those types of basil I planted stands out from all the others in the aroma category - lime basil. I expected the lemon basil to be the best, but the lime basil blows them all away.
I decided to try making a batch of lime basil syrup. Now, note - there is no citrus in there; it is simply flavored with one herb, lime basil. Wow! It was amazing! Since then, I have been going crazy. In the picture above, from left to right is ginger syrup, lavender syrup, lime basil syrup, chocolate mint syrup, and French tarragon syrup. The colors are so pretty and they taste really quite good. I can imagine using them for all kinds of accent flavors in the kitchen and bar.
Now, the trick is to see if the state will let me make them to sell! In the meantime, if you want to try making your own, it's really simple. Make sure you use an edible herb or flower that has not been sprayed with any herbicides or pesticides. Make a strong tea out of the herb using hot but not boiling water. Strain out the herb and reheat adding twice the amount of sugar as liquid you have (i.e. if you have one cup of syrup, add 2 cups of sugar). This ratio will get you in the shelf stable zone. If you don't want it so sweet, add less sugar and simply refrigerate it instead.
And if you don't feel like making your own, well, hopefully I can make them for you very soon!