Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cola Syrup

(about 3 cups syrup)

At the moment I'm in Washington, house sitting for my mum who is spending the summer in Europe. The weather here is simply wonderful; sunny and much cooler than Dallas. I'm in Heaven!

This weekend is Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington. Yesterday I headed out early to avoid the crowds and visited several lavender farms in the area. I tasted some lavender ice cream as well as a lavender infused gin with tonic water. The gin was quite interesting. The fellow who served me the drink added extra lavender syrup for a more pronounced flavor.

The following cola recipe is from The New York Times. It contains dried culinary lavender. I made a few adjustments. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander because that was an ingredient listed in another cola recipe I found online. I replaced a good portion of the water with the fresh juice I squeezed from the the two oranges, limes and lemon after I stripped them of their zest. In place of caramel powder to darken the syrup, I caramelized a quarter cup of sugar and added that instead.

This syrup completely exceeded my expectations. It's delicious! So much better tasting than the bottled stuff at the store.

juice squeezed out from the oranges, limes and lemon (used for zest)
water if needed, to bring the liquid (juice) measurement up to 2 cups
zest from 2 medium oranges
zest from 2 medium limes
zest from 1 large lemon
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
2 sections of a star anise pod, crushed
1/2  tsp dried lavender flowers
2 tsp minced ginger
1 1/2-inch piece vanilla bean, split
1/4 tsp citric acid
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water

1. In a heavy pot over medium heat, bring 2 cups juice/water to a simmer with the orange lime and lemon zests, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla and citric acid. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

2. In a food processor, whirl the 2 cups sugar for one minute (this will help it dissolve). Set aside.

3. Combine the 1/4 cup sugar and water in a medium sized pot. Heat the mixture until the sugar caramelizes. Remove from heat when the mixture is a nice medium-dark brown. Add the reserved sugar from the food processor.

4. Line a sieve or colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth and place over the pot containing the caramelized and processed sugars. Pour the simmered mixture through the sieve. Carefully gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and twist the top to close. Use a spoon to press the bundle against the sieve, squeezing out all the flavorful liquid.

5. Stir the syrup and let cool, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves, about 15 minutes. Transfer to containers and keep refrigerated. To make a soda, pour 3-4 tablespoons of syrup over ice and add 1 cup seltzer. Stir.


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