How very cordial
Its tigress canjam time again and the ingredient of the month is herbs — Food in Jars and Tigress in a jam both have posts about this month’s challenge with lots of tips, thoughts and book suggestions (the latter I am trying my best to ignore as I have way too many books now!)
I did pick up a nice selection of herbs just last week at the farmers market but they were for planting in the two planters in our front yard. Since we’re having a bit of coldish weather at the moment I”m keeping them in the vestibule for the next week and will plant them out next weekend. I’m excited to think that soon I’ll have a steady supply of mint, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, chives and others that I’m forgetting right now. When I repeat this month’s canjam recipe I’ll able to do it with my own herbs. Meantime I mostly settled for organic produce from wholefoods.
When it came to deciding what to put up this month I hardly had to think, you see we have a signature cocktail at our house. Every summer Melissa makes her fabulous basil lime cordial – a dramatically basil flavoured simple syrup that she derived from an epicurious recipe. Its been simplified a little and is easy to make and really good with soda water but even better with the addition of a healthy helping of vodka. I’m always telling her we should make big batches of it and can some so its ready whenever we want it, and now I’ve done just that!
To add to the excitement and try to give the herb family a bit more time in the spotlight I decided to try two additional batches with other flavorings. The second batch is a rosemary lemon cordial in honor of the rosemary vodka lemonade we enjoyed so much when we went to Ici for dinner during restaurant week (they were the highlight of my meal there actually). Then I passed the new lavender stall at the farmer’s market and thought it would be worth giving that a try as well. I have to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect with the lavender but it turned out great, a subtle floral taste which was well-balanced with the lemon and vodka.
What I love about these lemonades is how much the flavor of the herbs really shines through all that citrus – each one has a really distinctive tastes. I think they are just a little suprising, sophisticated and all round super tasty!
Herb Citrus Cordial (makes 4-5 pints)
- 6 cup sugar
- Zest of 6 citrus, in large pieces of peel
- 4 cups fresh citrus juice
- 2 cup water
- 8 cups loosely packed fresh basil or 2 cups lavender or 20 stalks of rosemary or some other herb you want to cordialize.
- In a large pot bring sugar, zest, juice, and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add the herbs and let the syrup infuse for at least 15 minutes.
- Meantime prepare your canning jars.
- Strain syrup through a fine sieve, squeezing out as much syrup as possible from the herb leaves before discarding them.
- Boiling water process for 10 minutes.
Serve with vodka and a splash of soda water, or just soda water if you prefer!