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By Kate Malin
What do an architect and a school teacher know about making syrups? If they are Royal Rose Syrups founders Emily Butters and Forrest Butler, it turns out they know a lot. It all started after Forrest lost his job and began instructing bartending by day and moonlighting as a bartender by night to supplement Emily’s teaching salary. One night after the couple collaborated to make a peach basil syrup, Forrest took it to work at the bar and used it to mix cocktails, which were a huge success. Sensing a great opportunity, the pair took the plunge and started their line of organic simple syrups.
Though the path was not always easy, Emily and Forrest stayed true to their values, using only organic, ethically sourced ingredients, and never adding chemical preservatives, artificial colors, or juice concentrates to their products. The resulting collection of syrups is a thoughtful mix of flavors, often inspired by seasonal ingredients. A love of lavender led Emily to dream up their top seller, Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup, and after testing dozens of batches, she perfected this bright, light, aromatic syrup. Lavender has long been used in folk remedies for insomnia and anxiety, while lemon is a source of nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamin C; paired together they are a rejuvenating combination. Emily suggests mixing vodka or gin with this syrup, but uses extend far beyond the bar, to sauces, salad dressings, sodas, and even as a topping for ice cream.
Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup is available at royalrosesyrups.com and in stores across the country. Royal Rose is part of the Good Food Awards, a project to honor food and drink producers making the sort of food we all want to eat – tasty, authentic and responsible, and a proud member of the Good Food Merchants Guild, national association uniting American craft food businesses to connect, convene and promote Good Food businesses of all sizes.
From her grassroots work at the Good Food Awards to her continued education at NYU’s Food Studies Master’s Program, Kate Malin brings an unparalleled passion for great food and good people.
More Good Food Finds:
10 prosecco cocktails you can make in minutes
Prosecco is great on its own but it also benefits from the addition of other carefully chosen ingredients. Try our bubbly cocktail recipes – they're ideal for a party.
Prosecco’s light flavour and delicate fizz make it an ideal candidate for imaginative mixing. Try the following ideas for blending sophisticated party drinks.
Our video guide to making prosecco cocktails should help you hone your skills…
Friday, November 16, 2012
Meet Saffron Syrup
The newest member of the Royal Rose family has arrived!
Our Saffron Syrup is a brilliant rusty-golden hue, with threads of saffron in each bottle. Sweet and spicy cinnamon sings backup. Try it with dark rums, bourbon, brandy- excellent in aromatic cocktails (without lemon or lime).
-sweeten your morning oatmeal (and add chopped apple & walnut)
-stir into hot tea or coffee
-drizzle over fruit (think: bananas, orange segments, grapes)
-mix into a sweet glaze for shrimp
-spoon over vanilla or chocolate ice cream
Saffron Syrup will be available in our online shop over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
Good Food: Royal Rose Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup - Recipes
We sat picnicking in a sunny field, not far from the narrow streets, bordered by the cracking plaster of crooked old buildings. These little roads opened to the center plaza, where farmers had sold us apples as big as our heads, creamy, stinky cheeses, rustic breads laced with nuts and fruits, and a cheap bottle of wine that would keep a sommelier squawking for days. You wouldn’t recognize me in this sunny field.
Close friends are often shocked when they glimpse this stage of my life. My hair was dreaded and spindled down my back. My flowing fabrics and loose garments spoke to my pseudo-hippy stage, but beyond my looks, you wouldn’t recognize me because I was still such a baby in my food journey. Those picnics in the very quaint and serene Aix-en-Provence taught me to appreciate ingredients, the effects of soil and flowers, why a name can only be applied when a strict set of standards are followed. In a word, terroir.
When I glimpsed this green enamel bucket arrangement at Roxanne’s Dried Flowers, where I regularly style and photograph beautiful florals, I felt transported. I briefly returned to the narrow roads, crooked buildings, crackling plaster and bustling farmers markets of Aix-en-Provence. I returned to the centre-ville that taught me how bread, cheese, olives and wine tempt and lure me as much as an intricately prepared roast. In turn, the very provincial centerpiece inspired my brunch menu.
This easy side dish combines fennel, blood oranges, roasted red grapes and fennel greens with Pink Himalayan sea salt. Fennel is a staple in many provincial French recipes. Roasting the grapes adds an extra sweetness, and their shape mirrored the spherical Billy Buttons. The loose fennel greens added a color pop to match the green enamel bucket and the salal leaves.
When I set the table, I added a curly lemon peel garnish to each glass. The yellow peels picked up the yellow hues of the floral arrangement. For an inspired brunch cocktail, I invited guests to mix fresh-squeezed lemon juice, champagne, Art in the Age’s Sage Liquor and Royal Rose Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup, according to their flavor preferences. The tart lemon and sweet lavender mixed well with the herbal notes of the Sage Liquor to create a very fresh, spring drink. If you could drink in the hillsides of Provence, it might taste like this!
As a token for each guest, I created simple nosegays using the same flowers as the arrangement. This carried my floral theme to the plates and made a lovely parting gesture to my guests. When it came time to fill those plates with food, my main dish was a Baked Whole Grain Lavender Infused French Toast.
Pain Perdu, lost or wasted bread, the French call it, and aside from almond croissants, it’s one of my favorite French breakfasts. For my baked version, I served each portion with a dollop of homemade Lemon Lavender Whipped Cream and added a small sprinkling of loose lavender as a fragrant and flavorful garnish. As the morning progressed, with tart, herbal sips and sweet, syrupy, floral bites, part of me felt far, far away on a picnic in Provence.
Baked Lavender Lemon French Toast with Lavender Lemon Whipped Cream
About This Recipe: Baked French Toast is best when assembled the night prior to your brunch, which makes morning preparations a lot easier. I infused cream with organic lavender, which soaks the bread overnight. The longer you infuse the lavender, the better, so start that step early. I sourced my organic lavender from a Farm-to-Table expo, but you can find it in certain specialty stores. Be sure to buy food-grade, organic lavender to avoid flowers sprayed with pesticides. When I was struggling to find lavender, I had purchased Royal Rose’s Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup, which I used in this recipe, but alternately, you can make your own.
Baked Lavender Lemon French Toast
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon organic dried lavender flowers
3/4 cups organic packed brown sugar
1/2 cup organic, unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 large loaf stale whole grain bread, cut into 1-inch slices, crusts removed (or a mix of whatever bread you have leftover- I used 1 French baguette + 2 challah rolls)
2 organic lemons, sliced thin
5 organic/cage-free eggs
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon organic almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Lavender Lemon Whipped Cream (Recipe Below)
Pure maple syrup
Loose lavender for garnish
In a small saucepan, over med-low heat, warm cream and lavender for 5 minutes or until steaming. Remove from heat, top with a lid, and let cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Note:The longer the lavender steeps, the more flavor you’ll be able to draw, so do this step as early as possible.
In another small saucepan, over medium heat, combine brown sugar, butter, and maple syrup, stirring until smooth and sugar has dissolved.
Pour into 13 x 9 inch glass baking dish.
Arrange half the bread slices in a single layer in the baking dish, pushing the slices tightly together.
Arrange lemon slices over the bread layer. Top with remaining bread slices.
In a big bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Strain cream mixture through a fine sieve into egg mixture, discarding lavender whisk to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or ideally, overnight.
Preheat oven to 350° meanwhile, let casserole stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Uncover and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.
Serve hot, with homemade Lemon Lavender Whipped Cream and a light drizzle of pure maple syrup.
Lavender Lemon Whipped Cream
1 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
1-2 Tablespoons Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup, to taste (homemade or Royal Rose)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the ingredients. Beat on medium speed until soft peaks begin to form. Keep chilled until ready to use.
Good Food: Royal Rose Lavender Lemon Simple Syrup - Recipes
After lavender officially beat me last time, I decided to put on my serious face, and I re-approached the challenge of baking a lavender cake with a new vigor. The issue was sourcing a larger supply of organic lavender. Contrary to the numerous suggestions I received, I wasn’t about to dig in Pittsburgh soil and “borrow” flowers. Pittsburgh was an industrial steel town [read: polluted]! Who knows what’s in most soils here. Fortunately, I found a Pittsburgh ally while shopping the vendors at the Farm to Table Conference. My sachet of organic, dried lavender was part of a horticultural therapy program for kids with autism. Suddenly my long pursuit seemed worth the wait!
I found another game changer via Brooklyn: Royal Rose Lavender-Lemon Simple Syrup! For foodies like me, who are obsessive about sourcing and the ethics of food, Royal Rose comes with quite the guarantee.
We use only 100% organic, fair trade cane sugar made from evaporated cane juice. We make our syrups by hand, in small batches, using whole ingredients. All of our herbs and spices are organic and fairly traded. Royal Rose sends all of its products to an independent laboratory for analysis to ensure a consistent, high-quality product. We recycle our waste and re-use cardboard boxes. No chemical preservatives, added colors or artificial flavors, ever. We source our ingredients and packaging materials for the highest quality and the best price possible.
This cake was filled with so many good intentions, including my own. I was making it for a relaxing, Sunday brunch with friends. This cake was my Fleatique Piquenique spotlight offering!
Lemon Lavender Almond Cake
1 cup turbinado sugar, divided
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons dried local lavender flowers, divided
[Next time I’d probably use 3-4 Tbs to push for a real burst of floral flavor)
2 Tablespoons lemons zest (from two organic lemons)
1 cup organic butter, softened
5 eggs (local/free-range)
1 cup wildflower amber honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons organic almond extract
1 cup (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese
1/4 cup organic heavy cream
2-1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grease a 10-in. stone bundt pan and sprinkle with flour set aside.
Place 1/2 cup turbinado sugar, almonds and 2 Tablespoons lavender in a food processor cover and process until finely ground. Add the lemon zest and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter, remaining ½ cup turbinado sugar until light and fluffy add the honey and continue to beat.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in vanilla and almond extracts.
In a small bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese and heavy cream
Combine the flour, almond mixture, baking soda and salt add to the creamed mixture alternately with Neufchatel mixture, beating well after each addition.
Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
½ cup organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lavender simple syrup
2 Tablespoons wildflower amber honey
1 teaspoon organic lemon juice
little bit of filtered water
Whisk together all the ingredients except the water.
Whisk until smooth. Add water to thin if necessary.
Sprinkle with dried lavender.
Take some time to fully appreciate the notes of lavender and the companionship cake brings!
15 Delightful St. Germain Elderflower Cocktails
An elderflower liqueur, such as St. Germain, is an easy way to add the sweet, floral taste to cocktails. This is a very versatile spirit that mixes with everything from Champagne and white wine to gin, vodka, and whiskey. Elderflower cocktails are absolutely delightful to drink, perfect for any occasion, and a fantastic change from the ordinary.
Elderflower drinks are nothing new. Elderflower cordials and syrups have long made an appearance in drinks, both alcoholic and not. This is particularly true in the United Kingdom where the tiny white flowers flourish and homemade cordials are a summer tradition. With its 2007 release, St. Germain (pronounced san-jer-man, 20 percent ABV, 40 proof) gave the flower a global spotlight. The French liqueur with an eau-de-vie base made the flavor accessible to all and is essential for the modern bar.
St. Germain is not the only elderflower liqueur you can buy. It is, instead, the best-known and easiest to find in almost any liquor store. Look for elderflower liqueurs from brands such as Bols, Fluer, St. Elder, and The Bitter Truth. Nonalcoholic elderflower cordials make a good substitute as well.
Gin Limeade Cocktail Recipe
This refreshing cocktail is a great combination of lime juice, gin, lavender lemon simple syrup and sparkling water!
- 2 oz botanical gin
- 1.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- .50 oz lavender lemon simple syrup
- 1 oz sparkling water, flavored if desired
- Mint, lavender and lime wheels for garnish, if desired
- Pour gin, lime juice and simple syrup into a shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain into glass with ice.
- Top with sparkling water.
- Garnish with desired items.
We used Royal Rose Organic Syrup for the Lavender Lemon Syrup.
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19 Simple Syrups for Everything (Not Just Cocktails)
It starts out easily enough: Combine one part water with one part granulated sugar, boil until dissolved, chill.
Here’s where we make it interesting: Simple syrups can be as varied and diverse as any other food stuff. By mixing in spices, herbs, fruit—truly anything your little heart can imagine, you have instant flavored sweetener. And it’s not just for cocktails. Drizzle on a simple butter-rich pound cake for a seasonal flavor boost, pack several bottles onto an ice cream sundae bar for a (gluten-free) birthday celebration, add a splash to whipped cream for sweet spice, stir into your morning coffee or tea to cut out the mermaid-logoed middle man, or, yes, use it in all manner of cocktails for a tinge of sweet flavor.
In general, you can expect infused simple syrups (ones that extract flavor from herbs and spices before straining) to last up to 3 months—often longer (as long as it smells good, it tastes good). Syrups that incorporate purées or juices however, won’t last as long: more like 2–3 weeks. But just think of all the raspberry lemonades you can have in that amount of time!
Here’s a collection of some of our favorite simple syrups, from the spiced to the spicy to the floral to the herbal, and everything in between.
Rose Simple SyrupRose extract adds floral sweetness and a faint blush to this syrup which flavors a spicy rye cocktail.
Fresh Mint Simple SyrupThe ultimate in freshness, use this syrup to freshen a glass of lemon- or limeade, or whip it into cream for a dessert topping. Get the recipe for Fresh Mint Simple Syrup
Thai Chile Simple SyrupThis fiery Thai bird chile-white peppercorn syrup adds a a complex balance of sweet, spicy, and bitter notes to anything it touches. Try it in Khong River House‘s Bee’s Knees riff: The Killer B.
Rosemary–Clove Simple SyrupWe poured this syrup into a cocktail of pear purée, gin, and lemon juice, but you could even use it to add sweetness to a sauce that came out a bit too bitter after preparing a winter roast.
Maylay-Spiced SyrupCardamom and star anise add rich aroma to this syrup. Use it to sweeten yogurt or to add a spiced punch to mango lassis.
Black Pepper SyrupBlack peppercorns add serious earthy heat to this syrup which will prove a wonderfully surprising experience for anyone who drinks it. Use it to add depth to a vodka–grapefruit cocktail.
Lavender-Thyme SyrupLemon peel add citrus punch to this syrup—without introducing acid to the mix—while lavender adds a waft of floral undertones. Try it in the prescribed vodka lemonade.
Fennel Simple SyrupFennel seeds add an earthy, anise aroma to this syrup, which we used in an alcohol-free Fennel Apple Spritzer. You could use leftover fennel fronds to accomplish the same task, leading to a grassier finish.
Peach–Lemon Verbena SyrupSweet peaches and aromatic lemon verbena marry in this syrup, perfect for mixing into cocktails such as an old-fashioned or French 75. Get the recipe for Peach–Lemon Verbena Syrup
The Soul TrainThis cocktail sees fragrant cardamom syrup stirred into tequila and citrus for complex east-meets-west-meets-east-meets-west sipper that seems as appropriate for summer as it does for winter. Get the recipe for The Soul Train »
Lemongrass SyrupFragrantly herbal and vaguely citrusy, stir lemongrass syrup into a mint julep for an exotic take on the classic. It’s also lovely drizzled over pound cake, tossed with a mango–papaya fruit salad, or used to sweeten a glass of iced tea.
Lemon Chamomile SyrupFragrant chamomile flowers and lemon peel marry in this syrup—mix it into a brandy smash or a collins, or simply with sparkling water for homemade lemon soda. Get the recipe for Lemon Chamomile Syrup
Beet SyrupAdd a boost of ruby red, earthy sweetness to smoothies, drizzle it over Greek yogurt served with poached pears, or mix it into a lush cocktail with Everclear and St. Germain.
Ginger SyrupInfused with ginger and black pepper, this syrup makes a great homemade ginger beer: Just mix one part syrup to three parts soda water.
Rye Whiskey Simple SyrupThis boozy, flavorful simple syrup is a quick way to deepen the flavors while adding sweetness to almost any cocktail. Try it in this hickory infused Old Fashioned.
Cinnamon Simple SyrupGreat in fall cocktails, this flavored simple syrup is also wonderful drizzled over pancakes or stirred into coffee.
Spiced Pear SyrupAn essential ingredient in Zachary Stevens’ Eros Elixir, this spicy fruit syrup is infused with ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and uses pear purée as its base liquid.
Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, Tuscany
“This is a unique cocktail born and raised in Castelfalfi, thanks to the unusual but delicious blend of local ingredients including gin and red wine, combined in a new, uncommon creation,” explains Lars-Frederick Isken, the barman at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, a Preferred Hotel.
1.5 oz Peter in Florence Gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1.5 oz sugar
Splash soda water
1.5 oz Chianti DOCG Cerchiaia Riserva Tenuta di Castelfalfi
Put gin, sugar and lemon into the shaker and after shaking for 12 seconds, double strain into a high bowl glass. Top with soda water and mix with a spoon. Pour the red wine (they use a Chianti Cerchiaia Riserva) and keep the two colors of the liquids separated. Garnish with lemon zest.
Peaches and Cream. Courtesy the Westin
Lemon-Ginger Iced Tea
Ginger tea is invigorating and when it's iced, it is a great afternoon pick-me-up. The best news is that this lemon-ginger iced tea is surprisingly easy to mix up.
The recipe begins with a homemade lemon-ginger simple syrup that gives this iced tea a fiery flavor. It takes just about 20 minutes to make and can be stored in the refrigerator until you're ready for a drink.
From there, it's as simple as brewing your favorite green tea and sweetening it with your brand new syrup. Serve it hot or cold, depending on your mood.