8.28.09 Elixir aka Adult Soda
OK, I'm calm now. I understand that plain water—or even water cut with fresh cucumber juice and lemon—can get boring day in and day out. So what about tea? Green tea? Jasmine tea? Mint tea? All delicious, cold or hot. But I can also offer you another alternative; something to drink maybe once a day (NOT 5 times a day) that isn't shit in a can. In our house this delicious drink is referred to as an elixir or, due to its sophisticated, less sweet nature, as adult soda.What I'm really talking about is just a flavored simple syrup. YES, IT'S MADE WITH SUGAR. But you can use organic cane sugar (not high fructose corn syrup, the devil's juice) or you can even use honey, yacon syrup or agave nectar (if you can find a truly raw version).
Infused Simple Syrup
- — 1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup honey or 2/3 cup agave nectar)
- — 1 cup water*
- — fresh or dried herbs and spices
Heat water and sweetener in a small saucepan until sugar (or honey or agave) is completely dissolved. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and place 2-3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, lightly crushed, or about 1 teaspoon of dried spice (1/2 teaspoon of saffron) to steep in the liquid, covered, for several hours.
Taste to see if syrup has achieved your desired intensity. If so, strain into a clean jar and refrigerate. If not, let it keep steeping until you're happy.
*One of my favorite variations is to substitute fresh lemon juice for the water; then steep several sprigs of rosemary in the syrup. I first tried this at Bar Boulud in Manhattan. I also had a passion fruit and chile version at Perry Street. You can really get creative with this very basic recipe.
- — 1 generous tablespoon flavored elixir
- — plain or sparkling water
Place 1 generous tablespoon of flavored elixir into a tall glass with ice. Fill with plain or sparkling water. Stir with a long-handled spoon or chopstick.