Pretty in Purple: Lilac Simple Syrup & a Toast-Worthy Lilac 75

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A note from Maggie

My goodness, I can’t tell you how excited I am to welcome Jayme Henderson from Holly and Flora to Eat Boutique.

I met Jayme in real life last year at The Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon. We chatted, drank very good coffee, and then went shopping on the new-to-us streets of Portland. After exploring shops in a funky neighborhood, we bought the coolest clogs together and were definitely in like gin.

I so admire Jayme’s delightful insight into the world of cocktails, and am thrilled she will be sharing a bit of that knowledge here. Her concoctions are on-point and bridge the gap from garden to bar beautifully. We’ll learn a lot, I’m sure. Even if it means taste testing… and then a little more taste testing. Yessss.

I, for one, will be enjoying this Lilac 75 before the week is out. What about you? Cheers!

Lilac season is such a fleeting, colorful, fragrant moment. As soon as I take in the first lilac blossom of spring, I immediately dream of warmer days, even if there’s still snow on the ground. I think we all do. The last of the lilacs in my garden are blooming, and I want to capture their vibrant aroma, as much as I possibly can.

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Aside from clipping blossoms for a vase in the kitchen or making lilac sugar, I always make a few batches of lilac simple syrup. It’s one way that I can preserve this edible flower’s flavor profile. I’ll add a little of this easy-to-make syrup to sparkling water or freshly brewed white tea, or I’ll pour an ounce or so into a glass of sparkling wine for a simple, yet elegant, cocktail.

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This particular spring syrup makes a unique, seasonal treat for a friend or a fabulous adornment to a spring celebration. It’s like bringing someone a bouquet of flowers that actually lasts. This simple syrup recipe yields enough to make well over 20 cocktails. And since I love the pop of purple this plant provides, I add a secret ingredient to this particular recipe to ensure that the syrup fully resembles the color of its former floral self.

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Lilac Simple Syrup + Lilac French 75

If you want to go a little fancier, beyond simply adding a dash of this syrup to your bubbly, make a riff on the classic French 75. I adhered to its original recipe, except I substituted lilac simple syrup for the plain version. Gin pairs perfectly with this aromatic, floral syrup, but if you’re not a gin-lover, you can opt for either rum or vodka. Both play well with these ingredients.

Makes: 2 Cups

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lilac flowers, firmly packed with stems and leaves removed
  • 5 to 7 blueberries, for extra color (optional)
FOR THE LILAC 75 COCKTAIL
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce lilac simple syrup
  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 cup ice
  • 3 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine of choice
  • 3 to 4 lilac flowers, for garnish

Directions:

Make THE SIMPLE SYRUP
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, sugar, lilac flowers, and, optionally, blueberries. If you choose to add the blueberries, crush them lightly.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve.
  3. Once it's reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and keep the mixture at a slow simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and strain, discarding the flowers and blueberries.
  5. Let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before bottling.
  6. Store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Make THE LILAC 75 COCKTAIL
  1. In a mixing tin, combine the lemon juice, lilac simple syrup, gin, and ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe or Champagne flute.
  3. Top with Champagne and garnish with lilac flowers.

Materials

  • Swing-top glass bottle
  • Pale purple ribbon
  • Label

Directions

  1. Fill the bottle with the syrup.
  2. Tie a pale purple ribbon around the neck of the bottle a few times and secure with a bow.
  3. Keep it simple and attach a hand-scripted label to the bottle.
Photos styled and taken by Jayme Henderson.

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