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.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique​–​a food​-​retail concept space ​with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.

Follow Eat Boutique’s founder Maggie here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Follow Eat Boutique here: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

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