Travel Eats

Entries in simple syrup (3)


It Won't Prevent Malaria

But this gin-based cocktail will cool you off and make you think of the savannah.  I tend to avoid pre-made mixers--tonic included--due to the crazy amount of sugar they contain.  You can doctor this one up to your personal sweetness.  Speaking of personal sweetness, guess who's home from summer camp?

The first words out of her mouth when I picked her up were, "Can I come back next year?"  She got her money's worth out of her week at Camp Flaming Arrow, falling asleep in the car on the drive home.  She was happy to see her stuff and quickly set up a safari on the tea table.

How inspirational I found this bucolic scene and pictured myself on the veranda ala "Out of Africa" with a gin cocktail....we'll call it the Fever Dream...

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into thick rounds, blend with 2 cups water

Lavender simple syrup: mix one cup sugar/one cup water in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves, add 3 TBS dried lavender flowers and steep at least one hour, strain flowers out prior to use

Blend and strain cucumber juice through fine seive, it makes about 2 cups.  To this add 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/2 to one cup lavender simple syrup depending on your taste.  Stir well and mix in a 3:1 ratio with gin in a cocktail shaker. Pour over ice and top with sparkling water.



Hibiscus Tea with Basil Syrup

If you haven't noticed, refreshing beverages are becoming a theme here in Ginny's Kitchen.  The humidity has been unbearable here this week, and everyone knows--it's not the heat, it's the humidity.  After draining my 1.5 L camelback on my long run today, I was not in the mood for more water.  I like the idea of making a beverage that I can control the sweetness and strength to suit my mood and hydration status.  You can probably find the dried hibiscus flowers in a Latin market.  Since I live in San Antonio, I found them in my local grocery store.

Viva HEB!


Hibiscus Tea

1 cup of hibiscus blossoms, rinsed

2 cups water

Bring water to boil, add hibiscus blossoms and simmer for 5 minutes.  Strain.  This is the base of the tea, you can add water to your preferred dilution but this typically makes ~2 quarts.

Basil Simple Syrup

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup water

Dissolve sugar and water over medium heat in small saucepan.  Add 3-4 large sprigs of basil.  I used purple ruffle basil this time.

Add syrup to taste and serve over lots of ice.  The hibiscus flowers are naturally tart so you may need more syrup than you anticipate.  Sometimes we add agave nectar if we are in a hurry and don't have any syrup on hand.




Cucumber Lavender Gin Cooler


Lavender (calming) + Cucumber (cooling) + Gin (relaxing).  The perfect spring cocktail.  I have always loved the smell of lavender, and who doesn't love Hendrick's Gin?  Although, according to their website, "it's not for everyone".  I was lucky to find a great source for organic culinary lavender at the Pearl Farmer's market--Imagine Lavender farms.  A little goes a long way so $9.50 for the jar has been money well spent.

Lavender-Cucumber simple syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 teaspoon lavender

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

In a small saucepan dissolve sugar in water over low heat.  Add lavender and sliced cucumber and bring to simmer, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 min.  Strain and cool.


1 oz. Hendricks gin

1 oz. cucumber/lavender simple syrup

1/2 oz. blood orange bitters

Squeeze of lime

Mix gin, simple syrup, bitters and lime in cocktail shaker.  Pour over ice into tall glass and top with sparkling water.  Stir gently.

This syrup is also delicious without the gin, just add a little more lime juice.