There's something about Lilacs
We all adore a lilac. Is it the fragrance? The color? Or is it the fact that for most of us, they represent a childhood memory? Grandma's garden more than likely held a few or at least one lilac. They are the epitome of the American garden in fact, and throughout most of the mid-west and east coast they can be found in old homesteads planted against modest homes' windows in hopes of the spring air being perfumed by their sultry yet airy fragrance. They are the workhorse of our heritage gardens, providing wind breaks and structure in the summer, and a gift of extraordinary beauty in the spring. They are trustworthy, and never fail to fill this heavy order of a spring bounty of blooms.
I planted my first lilacs in Bonny Doon way back when I started my flower business. I wanted to plant things that would give and give, every year, without fail, and that they have certainly done for me. And every time, every spring, I thank them and let my heart grow bigger for their love.
So this year I thought I should pay homage to them and create a new recipe using their sweet, beautiful, edible blossoms.
The Lilac 75 cocktail is not a new thing. It's been around a while and you can find recipes all over the internet. But what I've done is found my favorite and then 'tweaked' it to my liking, and also moved it over a little more into the botanical side. More lilac!
Here it is, and in my opinion, the best spring cocktail honoring the glorious Lilac.
Teresa's Lilac 75 Cocktail
FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping cup lilac blossoms, firmly packed (no stems or leaves!)
5-7 blueberries for extra color (optional)
FOR THE LILAC 75 COCKTAIL
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce lilac simple syrup
1.5 oz Hendricks Gin
1 cup ice
3 ounces Champagne
Lilac blossoms for garnish
MAKE THE SIMPLE SYRUP
- 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.
- Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to help the sugar dissolve.
- Once it's reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and keep the mixture at a slow simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain, discarding the flowers and blueberries.
- Let the simple syrup cool to room temperature before using for drinks.
- Store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
MAKE THE LILAC 75 COCKTAIL
- In a bar shaker, combine the lemon juice, lilac simple syrup, gin, and ice.
- Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe or Champagne flute.
- Top with Champagne and garnish with lilac blossoms.