Posts tagged blottobotany
Lilac Syrup
Lilac Syrup

It's simple.. I fu**ing love lilacs. I'm not going to be delicate about it. The smell brings me back to my childhood in New England. Early summer in Maine smells of lilacs and the constant rainy days of May and June truly bring that aroma out. I would sleep in a lilac bush if I could, I just love them that much! (I threw my head back and cackled as I wrote that.)

One of my first lilac memories is harvesting them with my aunt Karin. My neighbors lilac bush was overflowing into our backyard, so we figured we could pick some to bring inside. From what I remember, the neighbor wasn't thrilled with our harvest, which I think has instilled a sense of thrill for me whenever I harvest lilacs. I'm always afraid that I'm going to get caught in the act of harvesting lilacs. A few of my friends have witnessed me pulling over to the side of a road, jumping out of the car to run over to a bush and harvest a few bunches of lilacs. I've done it under the cover of night. I harvest and run; escaping my none existent pursuer. Call it paranoia if you want to, but I like to call it "guerrilla harvesting". It's ridiculous but also really fun. (I don't go into peoples yards by the way.. most often there's actually not a need for me to run away.) 

Luckily my mom has a lilac bush in her backyard. So there's not a real need for me to rush while gathering these sweet, purple flowers. I came up to the Flathead Valley to visit my mom and cats this weekend and was thrilled to see that the lilacs were in bloom. Maybe you've seen my recipe for Lilac Wine, but I've never made syrup with them before. Syrups are one of my favorite ways to infuse herbs and flowers into my every day routine. They can enhance fizzy water or your favorite cocktail. Or mix a syrup with powdered sugar to make a glaze for waffles, scones, cookies, etc. Or just drink em straight up, no judgement!

Lilac Syrup
Lilac Syrup

 

Ingredients 

3-4 lilac bunches
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups honey or raw sugar

Method

Gently rinse lilacs and inspect for debris/bugs before removing flowers from stems. Place flowers in a large, heat proof jar and completely cover with boiled water. Cover the jar and let sit overnight or for at least 4 hours. After infusion time, strain flower water and transfer to a pot. Add sugar or honey and bring liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. You'll be looking for a slightly thick and syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and let cool before pouring syrup into a bottle or jar. Cap tightly and keep in fridge for up to 2 months.

Serve with cocktails/mocktails, lemonade or sparkling water. 

Lilac Syrup
Irish Cream & Reishi Mushroom Coffee Cordial
Irish Cream & Reishi Mushroom Coffee Cordial

Well la de da, I guess it's already mid March and time for another round of me remembering that I'm of Irish descent (very much so, in fact) and breaking out some basic Irish recipes. I love Irish food. I'm one of those few Americans who are obsessed with a traditional Irish breakfast, my absolute favorite part being the blood sausage. That paired with tomatoes and beans make for the perfect comfort food in my book. The Irish seem to have a knack for comfort and good hearty food; at least from what I understand from the meals that have been popularized here in the States. Dense soda bread, boiled potatoes with corned beef and root vegetables, dark, frothy beer... the Irish have a good sense of foods and libations that are made to satisfy and soothe. 

Bailey's Irish cream was first created in 1973 by two men in Essex. According to their tale, the idea was birthed in minutes and the actual product was mixed up within one hour. It was a daring move, to add cream to the beloved Irish whiskey, but they made it work and it sold - a lot. Its low percentage of alcohol made it the perfect paring for other spirits, therefore creating space for people to purchase more booze to mix with it. Ka-ching, am I right? 

While mulling over what to create for my second annual "oh right, I'm also Irish" recipe, I knew I wanted to do something with liquor and after some research, this was the thing that stood out most to me. I still haven't been to Ireland and none of my immediate family immigrated from there, so my ancestral connection to that side has yet to be fully experienced. But I know it will some day and until then, I'm going to keep on making Irish recipes and learning the folklore. And hell, maybe I'll even try my hand at making my own blood sausage. I'll keep ya updated on that one. 

Traditionally, instant coffee is used when making Irish cream. However, being the herbal cordial nerd that I am, I wanted to try something different and infuse my whiskey before adding the cream and chocolate. This version is less sweet than Bailey's, so feel free to adjust the maple syrup, or add 1/2 a cup of raw sugar to the cordial while infusing. 

The Cordial

1 pint Irish whiskey
3 slices reishi mushroom, chopped
1/4 cup crushed coffee beans
2 cinnamon sticks
 

The Mix

1 cup infused whiskey
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbs cocoa powder
1-2 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

In a glass jar (I used a wide mouth pint size jar) place the coffee beans and lightly crush with a wooden spoon or muddling tool. Add cinnamon sticks, chopped reishi and cover with whiskey. Cap tightly and infuse for 1-3 weeks. After infusion time, strain the cordial and transfer to a clean jar. ((For this recipe, I honestly forgot to make my cordial a couple weeks in advance, so I infused it over the course of a few nights. It wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but it was still so good!!))

After straining the cordial, place all the cream, cordial and remaining ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. The liquid will be a little frothy, so let it settle for a bit before transferring to a clean bottle or jar. It will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Serve with coffee or on the rocks. 

 

Irish Cream & Reishi Mushroom Coffee Cordial