Lilac bushes take many years to reach full maturity and last only a few days as a cut flower. In my opinion, however – if you exclude roses, they are unrivaled for fragrance and color. So consider either planting one or scope out your neighbors yards. They were traditionally planted next to outhouses because of their fragrance and ýou’ll see them on many old farmsteads because of their tolerance of poor soils and neglect. Any color lilac can be used for this recipe because we are relying on blueberries to pump up the color of the finished syrup.
Lilacs have a strong , pleasant perfume flavor with a slightly unpleasant (to me) bitter taste. It’s best to combine the syrup in drinks that include some citrus juice. I’m going to add a splash to lemonade topped off with a few splashes of soda water. But here’s some tips to make it a little more interesting: COCKTAILS! Choose your favorite clear booze and any lime, lemon, or orange you have on hand. Not to point out the obvious to all of you lushes, but lime is great with tequila or light rum and lemon, lime, orange, or a combination of two or all goes well with gin or vodka. The recipe for 1 cocktail is as follows:
LILAC SYRUP COCKTAIL
1 ounce gin, vodka, tequila, or light rum
1/2 ounce lavender syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime, lemon, or orange juice (or a combination of all 3 if using gin or vodka)
4 ounces soda water
Pour over ice and stir to combine.
If you are not drinking alone, increase the recipe proportionately per person.
- 1½ cups lilac blossoms, removed from stems
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 12 blueberries, fresh or frozen
- Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Use a spoon or fork to smash the blueberries against the side of the pan to extract their color.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or 2 layers of cheesecloth.
- I like to freeze any simple syrups that I won't be using right away, for sometimes they get moldy and it's a little heartbreaking. Freeze in ice cube trays for the perfect serving size.
And now I have to end this pretty blog post with my new reality. With my irregular schedule, most of you probably haven’t noticed the gap in my postings. The past 2 and 1/2 months have been an emotional and physical roller coaster ride. While Lewis was visiting Kendra and Eduardo in Japan, I found a lump in my right breast. The hardest part when this happens is telling your family and since Lewis hasn’t had a vacation in 20 years, I had no desire to cause him any distress while the three of them hopped from temple to temple throughout central Japan. Tegan was close in New York, but I wanted to tell her in person, so I waited until Lewis’ return. He of course acted cool as a cucumber, but I know better. The hardest part after telling your loved ones is waiting for results and mine have changed after each part of this journey. It looked bad lymph node-wise. Then after surgery it looked fantastic because of no lymph node involvement. However, my prognosis plummeted when for some inexplicable reason my ER (estrogen receptors) went from 70% positive to 0%, placing me in the triple negative category, which is more rare, harder to treat, and aggressive. If you get through the first 3-5 years, however, your prognosis improves to better than ER+. Go figure.
This is most likely too much information for all of you that have not gone through this yourself or with someone in your life, but only a brief synopsis for those of you that have been through this. The wedding planning has been a big, wonderful distraction and the best part is that everyone has to be extremely nice to me! I’ve decided to cancel all classes and suppers until September when all of my chemo is completed. I am in awe of the woman that work through all of this and I’m hoping to fill the next 4 months with an intense focus on my cookbooks and this blog.