As the sun comes through the emerging leaves and I smell the lilacs blooming, winter seems like a bad, cold memory. This time of year in the northeast is truly magical. Overnight leaves push their way onto the branches, the grass thickens and greens and flowers bloom everywhere. Of course I can barely see it through my allergy fog, but that’s just part of the magic! But really, anyone that hasn’t inhaled the aroma of lily of the valley or lilacs is just missing out. After a particularly harsh winter the smell of these blossoms isn’t just intoxicating, it’s a miraculous.
The best part of spring and summer for me is being outside, drinking a cool drink, playing some lawn games and nibbling on something delicious. Can there be anything better than a cocktail on sultry summer evening?
This cocktail is refreshing, light, and only slightly sweet. Make a large batch because everyone will like it. Who can say no to: gently sweet strawberries, cool cucumbers, and floral thyme?
With or without alcohol it is perfect for a hot summer day or a warm spring evening. Strawberries are coming into season so it is a perfect time to make this drink. Don’t be daunted by the ingredient list. If you are making it for a large crowd, just multiply the recipe to make a big batch in a pitcher. It all comes together very fast. Keep in mind that the simple syrup recipe makes about a cup. (8oz) And leave the alcohol out for a refreshing spritzer. Enjoy-
4oz thyme simple syrup
4oz strawberry cucumber juice
1 lemon, juiced
Make the simple syrup first so it can cool down. You can make it the day before and it will keep for a week in the fridge.
Thyme Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Bring water and sugar to a simmer and dissolve all sugar.
Once sugar is dissolved, turn off heat and add thyme. Let cool. Remove thyme once the mixture has cooled.
Strawberry and Cucumber Juice
6 strawberries, cut in half
1/3 English cucumber, chopped
¼ cup water
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve with a bowl or mixing cup underneath.
Stir mixture to help it pass through the sieve.
To make cocktails:
Bring out 4 high ball glasses.
Put a two mint leaves in each glass, muddle.
Add gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and strawberry juice to a pitcher.
Stir ingredients together.
Divide the mixture between the glasses and add ice.
Top with seltzer.
Garnish with a cucumber and strawberry slice if desired.
Recipe for one cocktail below:
1oz thyme simple syrup
1oz strawberry cucumber juice
1/4 lemon, juiced