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- Equal portions of water and sugar
- Fresh herbs, washed and dried, either left in sprigs or with stems removed
A medium-weight simple syrup, the best type for beverages, is made with a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. You may want to start out with 1 cup of each.
The amount of herbs you’ll use depends on their intensity. For 1 cup of syrup, for example, a couple tablespoons of fresh lavender buds or a 3-inch sprig of rosemary will suffice, while you may add as much as a 1/2-cup of angelica or a whole cup of mint leaves.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat so that it simmers gently. Add the herbs, stirring to push them under the surface. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and let the mixture cool.
When the syrup has cooled, strain it one to three times through a fine sieve to remove herbs and get a clean syrup. Pour it into a sterilized, airtight bottle or jar. Store the syrup in the refrigerator for up to three months.
To use, start by adding herbal syrup 1 tablespoon at a time to 3/4 or 1 cup of beverage. Increase to taste.
Herbs that make delicious simple syrups include:
- Lemon verbena
- Sweet cicely
- Lemon balm
Beverages that can benefit from the addition of an herbal syrup include:
- Ginger ale
- Sparkling or seltzer water
- Champagne and other sparkling wines
- Hot or iced tea: black, green, red, white or herbal
- Lemonade and limeade
- Martinis and other cocktails made with vodka or light rum
- Unsweetened cranberry or pomegranate juice
- Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice