Herbal Sodas and Cocktails.
Winter is the perfect time to infuse herbal goodies into delicious beverages. I have no less than three Herbal Syrups in the frig; ready to go for a quick Herbal Soda or Cocktail. Mix with seltzer or something else 👀.They whip up fast and require just a few ingredients (the variations are endless)!
By the way, sorrel (hibiscus), rose petals, vanilla bean, ginger root and turmeric are easily found in local Indian or Asian markets.
I have listed the Homemade Vermouth recipe below. Super easy to make; try to use only organic ingredients (most can be found online). It takes a bit of time to infuse; but is well worth it!
Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups organic sugar
In a medium saucepan, combine vanilla bean, water and sugar. Let it come to a boil (it will boil over so watch carefully), then simmer on low for 30 minutes. Cool and store in refrigerator for up to two months.
To mix, use a few ounces of syrup to seltzer and ice (to taste).
Turmeric + Ginger Simple Syrup
- 4 inch piece of turmeric root, peeled and chopped
- 4 inch piece of ginger root, peel and chopped
- 3.5 cups of organic sugar (honey is good too)
- 3.5 cups of water
- 1 tsp. red chile flakes (optional)
- Pinch of salt
In a large pot, bring all the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for at least 15 minutes. Cool completely, strain out solid ingredients and store in refrigerator for up to two months.
To mix, use a few ounces of syrup, squeeze of lime, seltzer and ice.
Sorrel + Rose Simple Syrup
- 2 cups dried sorrel (dried hibiscus)
- 1 cup rose petals (optional)
- 2 inches ginger, sliced in thin coins for mild flavor, or chopped/grated for stronger flavor.
- 1 orange peel (add juice too)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup of sugar
In a larger pot, combine all ingredients, lightly cover and bring to a boil. Simmer on low for at least 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight for better flavor. Strain out solid ingredients and store in refrigerator for up to two months.
To mix, use a few ounces of syrup with water, seltzer (or alcohol of choice for a spicy cocktail).
Homemade Vermouth (AKA Bitter Wine)
- 1 tsp. organic wormwood
- 1/2 tsp. organic gentian root
- 1/2 tsp. organic chamomile
- 1/2 tsp. organic juniper berries
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 1 organic star anise
- 1/4 tsp. organic sage leaf
- 2 tsp. dried organic orange peel
- 1/2 tsp. organic coriander
- 4 organic cardamom pods
- 1 bottle (750 ml) light white wine
- 1 cup cream sherry
Put herbs into stockpot and add wine.
Bring to a boil; watch closely. Once it comes to boil, remove from heat and add sherry.
Place lid on stockpot and let infuse overnight. The next day, taste. Infuse longer, if you want more botanical flavor. If it's perfect, strain into a cheesecloth.
Refrigerate or store in cool dark place. It should keep for 6+ months.
Champagne Cocktail Recipe
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. homemade vermouth
- 1 oz. vanilla simple syrup (recipe above)
- Champagne or sparkling white wine
- Fresh citrus peel
Combine all ingredients in a champagne flute. Garnish with citrus peel.