Friday, June 26, 2009

southend

2 oz Gin (I used North Shore Distillery)
1/2 oz Lavender Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
2 sprigs Mint

Lightly muddle mint sprigs in lime juice and simple syrup to extract the oils. Add gin and ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf and a lavender stalk.

On Wednesday, I was weeding in the side garden and noticed how the lavender was in bloom. The idea for making a lavender simple syrup had been in the back of my head for a while, and the time seemed right. The syrup idea had been suggested to me after I attempted a lavender-vodka infusion two years ago and the end product was a bit too bitter to drink. After a little research on how much lavender I would need, I returned with a bowl and a pair of scissors and began harvesting. Making a hybrid of a few online recipes, I did the following in my kitchen:
• 1/4 cup Lavender Flowers (stripped from stalk)
• 1 cup Sugar
• 1 cup Water
Add ingredients to a pot. Heat while stirring with a spoon until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit for 2 hours. Strain into a bottle or other container, and store in the refrigerator. Unopened purple flower buds are optimal since they have the most flavor, although opened flowers and dried lavender can be used.
While the syrup was steeping on the stove, I began to search for ideas that used simple syrup, gin, and some sort of citrus which seemed like a good first direction. Upon seeing the recipe for the Southside, a light bulb lit up over my head. With all the lavender and its symbolism, this version of the Southside could easily be renamed the Southend -- the neighborhood in Boston filled with elegant Victorian brick row houses and great restaurants as well as being the center of our city's vibrant gay community.


Upon tasting the Southend, Andrea's first reaction was "Mmm... wow, that's a damn fine drink!" The lavender worked to bring out some interesting vegetal notes in the gin and mint and developed some flavors reminiscent of green Chartreuse. The drink had a good gin signature, and with the sweetness level, there was not as sharp of a juniper note. Overall, it was very similar to the gin julep from the other day just with some citrus, lavender, and bitters to add complexity and cut the sweetness a bit.

2 comments:

LimeyG said...

Nice! I usually do a half-cup sugar to a cup of water for lavender syrup; stored in a glass container, it'll keep in the fridge for at least a month. I use it in a version of Pigalle's Garden Party cocktail: Hendrick's gin, muddled cucumber, lemon juice and syrup - perfect for summer.

frederic said...

The Pigalle Garden Party sounds delightful. Some of the recipes I saw went as full as 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, while I chose the standard 1:1 recipe that I use for my simple syrup. Thanks for the estimate of its shelf life!