Saturday, September 19, 2015

Use herbs for signature desserts and grown up beverages

Lavender ice cubes
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Herbs are not only great as seasoning, but also for teas, beverages and desserts.  

You can freeze different herbs or edible flowers in ice cubes for flavor, fun or decoration.  You can take herbs, put in sugar or salt, and grind.  Ta-da fragrant, decorative glass rim treatment.  Using herbs, flowers and fruit for flavored sugars and salts

You can make fruit or herb syrups when in season for year round use in drinks, ice cream toppings, drizzled in cakes, as a base for jellies, ice cream or sorbet, or fun drinks.  Syrups are easy to make.  Simmer the herb with just enough water to cover for 30 minutes, strain, and add 1 cup of sugar for every cup of herb liquid.

Liqueur infused sorbet and topping
You can also make a fruit herb liquor by combining the fruit or rind of 10 large pieces of fruit, two cups of sugar, 2 liters of vodka, and 1 cup of herbs.  Herbs that complement fruit flavors are mint or any herb with fruit/citrus flavors.  Allow the mixture to sit in a tightly covered jar at room temperature for 5 weeks, shaking every couple of days.  Strain out the solids and pour the remaining flavored liquid into sterile jars.

You can add many herbs to flavor wine-angelica leaves, bergamot leaves and flowers, borage leaves and flowers, clary sage leaves, lemon balm leaves, lemon verbena leaves, all kinds of mint leaves, rosemary leaves, salad burnet leaves, sweet woodruff leaves.

Mint julep,
made famous as the drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby
Mint julep is a well known drink with the mint herb used, along with lemon juice, sugar, club soda, sugar, and whiskey with a mint garnish.

Other famous herbal drinks include May wine, Benedictine wine tonic and Chartreuse.

German May wine is a sweet white wine traditionally flavored with a small amount of sweet woodruff, 3 grams worth.  

Benedictine wine tonic is a top secret blend of 27 plants and herbs, made at the Benedictine monks Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England.  It contains coriander, thyme, tea, orange peel, juniper, saffron, and honey for sweetening. The original recipe originated in France around 1510 and is still top secret today.  It was lost for centuries until old manuscripts were found that contained the recipe.  The recipe is kept at 3 different locations around the world, just to be on the safe side.  

Chartreuse is also a secret French liqueur developed by monks back in 1740.  It is said to be wine with 130 herbs, flowers and other secret ingredients.  The monks were expelled from France, the rights to the Chartreuse name and distillery were bought by a company, but they could not recreate the elixir.  The assests were bought cheaply and given to the monks, who were allowed to return.  Only 2 monks know and make the recipe at one time to preserve the secret.

Try adding your own special blend of herbs and spices to different syrups, liquors and wines to produce your secret, signature drinks, toppings, dressings and desserts!

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