Minted :: Round III
And to wrap up a whirlwind of mint...shall we wash down a delectably healthful springtime meal with a bubbly fresh cocktail? This one's kind of out of this world--the perfect picnic sipper.
Prosecco Sparkler with Mint, Lavender and Lemon ::
Serves :: Makes 4 to 6 cocktails
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
3/4 teaspoon dried lavender
3 strips of lemon peel, using a vegetable peeler
1 bottle of Italian prosecco
In a small saucepan, bring water, sugar, mint, lavender and lemon peel to a simmer until all sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool and strain syrup through a sieve, discard remaining mint, lavender and lemon peel. Syrup can be made ahead and refrigerated. Will last for up to 2 weeks.
Fill small glasses or champagne flutes 2/3 full with prosecco. Add in 1 to 2 teaspoons of simple syrup depending on desired sweetness. Top off with club soda and serve.
Obsessing Over :: Rhubarb!
Rhubarb's peak season is fleeting, a couple more weeks and then poof, it's gone until next spring. Often under-appreciated, rhubarb is one of those ingredients that can make your eyes light up when spotting it at the market or featured on a menu. Versatile, vibrant and mellow in taste, it's certainly worth a test-drive if you haven't cooked or baked with it ever before. Last year, I dabbled with it's savory side, pickling it to pair with asparagus and creamy feta...totally out of this world for a stunning side dish. Strawberry-rhubarb crisp is always in the mix each spring and early summer as a not-too-sweet dessert that's crammed with fruit and topped with oats and brown sugar. Dab a dollop of brandied-vanilla whipped cream* on top and it's near heaven.
And just last week, I went the route of a rhubarb-vanilla simple syrup and compote. Shockingly quick and easy...and ridiculously tasty. Use the syrup to stir up a perfectly pink cocktail (prosecco+fresh lemon juice+rhubarb syrup or gin+rhubarb syrup+club soda+lime both come to mind) or even to give pellegrino and lime a little pop. The compote that's leftover after making the simple syrup is great to spoon into morning yogurt. It'll for sure start your day with a smile.
*quick little note on that brandied-vanilla whipped cream (cause it's spatula-licking fantastic)...add 1 cup whipping cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, the inside of 1/2 a vanilla bean and 2 tablespoons of brandy to a mixing bowl and either whisk with some major arm power or use an electric beater to whip until soft peaks form.
Rhubarb-Vanilla Syrup :: and Compote
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 stalks of rhubarb
½ vanilla bean, spilt in half
Bring all ingredients to a simmer until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is soft, about 15 minutes. Strain syrup through a sieve and allow to cool. Place remaining rhubarb compote in a mason jar or air-tight container and refrigerate. Both syrup and compote can be refrigerated up to 3 weeks.
More Dishes you might like
Pomegranate Holiday Star Cocktail
Pomegranate Holiday Star Cocktail ::
Serves :: 2
3 ounces vodka
1 ounce Lillet blanc
2 ounces pomegranate syrup* (see note)
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
3 drops of Angostura or old-fashioned bitters
Champagne or prosecco float
Garnish with a sage leaf and 4-5 pomegranate seeds
Combine vodka through bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with safe leaf and pomegranate seeds.
In a small saucepan, add ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water. Simmer gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool. In a blender, blend the seeds from ¾ of a pomegranate with the simple syrup. Strain syrup in a bowl and discard any pith from the seeds. Transfer syrup to a bottle for pouring.