Most of the time when I buy fresh herbs, I use a handful or two and then, sadly, they go back into the vegetable bin, A.K.A. the graveyard. I almost never go through a full bunch, which is so wasteful it makes me feel ashamed. So I started thinking about what to do with leftover herbs when they are still fresh, other than eating parsley salads or making a ton of pesto. And I think I came up with a pretty cool solution: herb-infused simple syrups. You can use the syrups to fancify cocktails, sweeten iced tea, or make your own (Super cheap! All natural!) soda with some fizzy water. My current favorite flavor is lemon-rosemary, but you could substitute any fresh herbs you already have on hand. Don’t like lemon? Try lime, blood orange, grapefruit, or leave out the citrus altogether. It’s a pretty foolproof recipe and livens up so many different types of drinks. –Lisa C. Click for the recipes for rosemary-lemon simple syrup and cocktails!
Rosemary-lemon simple syrup
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 lemon, zested and cut in half (remove the seeds)
1 handful rosemary (or any fresh herb)
Put all your ingredients in a small pot over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture come to a boil, then cover the pot and let it steep for 30 minutes to an hour. Uncover and squeeze the lemons, releasing all of the juice. Remove the lemon halves and the rosemary. Pour into a jar. The syrup can keep for up to a month, covered in the refrigerator.
For a rosemary-lemon vodka gimlet:
Fill a highball or short drinking glass halfway with ice. Add two shots of vodka (I used Oval vodka, but any kind will do) and two spoonfuls of syrup. Top off with soda water and stir until combined. Garnish with a rosemary sprig or lemon slice.
For rosemary-lemon soda:
Pour three tablespoons of the syrup into a tall glass. Fill with soda or tonic water and stir. Add ice.
For rosemary-lemon iced tea:
Fill a tall glass with unsweetened iced tea. Add three tablespoons of the syrup and stir. Add ice.