It was with delight and astonishment that I rediscovered how much more vibrant the world is when properly lit! The bougainvillea, sweet pea, and geranium blossoms I encounter along my walk to work leapt out from their background foliage. Just looking at them made my shoulders drop and my serotonin levels rise. Of course, despite enjoying the added light and brilliance, I still wore long sleeves and a broad brimmed hat. So much for Vitamin D. At a later date I'll have to work in a recipe for a Vitamin D rich food.
For now I shall focus on something cool to drink after a long, hot day and a sweaty, awkward commute home. Speaking of awkward, has anyone noticed that San Franciscans don't know how to dress for summer? We still wear our dresses with boots and tights, except as a concession to the higher temperature the tights are hiked up to show a few inches of shin, and the quotidian boho scarf is draped loosely about our shoulders, rather than wound snugly around our neck. Really, we just look silly: like adolescent birds halfway thru molting into their adult feathers, or Goths wearing their weeds in Arizona.
So what is a somewhat health conscious self styled foodie to do when caught in an unexpected tho welcome summer? I'll give you a hint (pretend you didn't read the tile of this post) mint grows like a weed in Honey's garden. What better use for it than a mint infused simple syrup?
Mint Simple Syrup
3 ounces (by weight) fresh mint leaves
2 cups white sugar
2 cups water
In a sauce pan heat the water and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved. Rough chop the mint and toss into the syrup. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand until cool. (I like to think that further minty goodness is infused into the solution during this time) Strain mixture and decant into a container of your choice for storage. (I used a repurposed beer bottle with a flip top, and a small mason jar for the extra syrup.) Makes 3 cups syrup. Keep refrigerated.
Pro tip: When pillaging your Honey's garden for mint, try to avoid picking leaves covered in white flies. "Organic (ie: negligent) gardening" does have its charming little hazards!
So, now that we've made our lovely minty syrup, we need to put it to delectable use. This following beverage was inspired by one of my favorite cocktails: the Pimm's Cup.
Lemon Mint Cucumber Soda
1 pint glass
Long handled spoon
2 - 4 tablespoons homemade mint simple syrup
Juice from 1 lemon
2 slices cucumber
Extra lemon and cucumber slices for garnish
Add the 2 slices of cucumber to your pint glass and smash them to smithereens with your muddler. If you don't have a muddler, you are a smart, resourceful and devastatingly gorgeous individual, I'm sure you can figure something out. Add the lemon juice, with, or without pulp (I prefer with the pulp). Top with ice, homemade mint simple syrup, and soda. Stir briskly, garnish with lemon and cucumber slices. Sit back under an umbrella tree and enjoy the cricket match that has magically materialized in your back yard. Take care not to muss your petticoats and bring your fan. You must have a fan for proper flirtation, of course.