Friday, June 10, 2011

Perfect Hot Summer Drink

I'm so happy it is summer! My peonies are in full bloom. And in quantities sufficient to fill vases. If nothing else, I am "rich in peonies". And mint.

Casual, next to the kitchen sink. I took this early in the morning.

Prep space a little left of the kitchen sink. The trivet, really a chunk of granite, supporting the bowl o' mint, is a recycled sample from one of my projects. I may not be a fully organic gardener, but I do recycle.

This is what you need for the hot weekend: Minted Simple Syrup. How many cocktail recipes have you not tried because simple syrup was on the ingredient list and you didn't have any? If you have any mint in your garden, you know it spreads all over. This is a great way to use that bountiful harvest of mint.

Or just buy some at the market.

Put 4 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a fairly large pot. Add a big bunch of clean fresh mint. Leave the stems on (less work and makes no difference in taste). Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes.

Be careful, it is really hot!
Take off heat and strain into something easy to pour from.
This recipe makes enough to take us through 4th of July and then some. For a smaller quantity use 2 cups sugar, 1 cup water. For unflavored, skip the mint. 

I call this drink a Persian Peony cocktail.

half glass of water, sparkling or still
several tablespoons Minted Simple Syrup*
ice, crushed or cubes
a teaspoon or so of raspberry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
mint leaves or a cucumber slice

Swirl the Minted Simple Syrup and teaspoon of raspverry vinegar into the glass of water. Add a lot of ice, almost up to the rim, add vodka. Garnish with a few mint leaves or a cucumber slice, if you like. It is a refreshing drink with or without the garnish.

Especially good when you come in from a long, hot afternoon of gardening.

Skip the vodka and it makes a refreshing alternative to iced tea. Skip the vinegar if like. We like a spritz of lemon or lime in our house, but mostly we take it plain (water, syrup, ice if we have it).

photo source

For a fast summer dessert, drizzle Minted Simple Syrup on berries, add a plop of whipped cream (or not), and sprinkle with chopped fresh mint if you have it. Everyone says it is "refreshing".

By the way, a tablespoon of whipped cream has fewer calories than a tablespoon of cream straight from the carton.

*this syrup is called sehkanjabeen in Farsi (seh - can - ja - bean); they've been making this for thousands of years in Iran. Syrup, not cocktails.

Happy weekend!

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan

if you'd love to have a home you love coming home to, contact me!


  1. Looks like a lovely spot! Enjoy the week ahead, Kellie xx

  2. I too am rich in mint. Alas, not nearly so wealthy in the peonies, but certainly improved over last year. And to all who are tempted but not yet taking the plunge, do the mint simple syrup: Linda's recipe is easy and fantastico!


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