The Heady Scent of Spring

Flowery lockdown cocktails 'fait maison'? Yes please.

The previous chatelaine adored lilac, we have many trees in several shades from white to darkest purple.

Lilac scents the spring air and the flowers are joyful, when I worked for a living, one place overused the saying, ‘I wish I could have bottled it’ whenever there was an event with a good positive vibe. So, having run out of elderflower cordial to perk up my gin that was just what I did.

Lilac syrup is a beautiful colour, quite powerful on its own, but poured over ice cream or mixed into a gin, its flavour becomes delicate and pleasantly sweet, almost reminiscent of those coveted parma violet sweets as a child, but without the sickliness. Of course, you can make this with violet flowers, but we don’t have enough here without depriving the bees whereas lilac is a-plenty.

How do you make it? The basic recipe is simple, but made with care the syrup maintains that all important delicate lilac flavour.

You will need:

2 parts lilac flowers

One part sugar

One part water

Optional: a few blueberries to add colour

Pick the best flowers you can find, ideally in the morning on a dry day. Sit and relax while picking off the flowers making sure you have none of the bitter green stem, discard any that are past their best.

If you are sure they have not been sprayed with any nasty chemicals, don’t wash them so as to retain the pollen and flavour. Measure the volume of flowers.

Over a medium heat, bring the sugar and water (Twice the volume of the flowers) to the boil until the sugar dissolves. This is the time to add the blueberries if you’re using them.

Add the lilac flowers and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat cover and leave to infuse for between 6 to 8 hours until it tastes good!

Strain, I used cheese cloth, but muslin or a fine sieve would work. I strained it twice to make it clearer.

Refrigerate and use in a couple of weeks.

Enjoy added to sparkling wine, water or of course gin. Its great with fruit and ice cream or yoghurt too. T’chin t’chin.

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