Summer Sun

Despite the multiple fans circulating air through my apartment, and the strict no-pants-allowed rule my roommate and I have been enforcing in the house, our home remains a sweaty, heated box of summer oppression. Solution? Don’t be in the apartment! I’ve been relishing the time I spend working in the heavily air conditioned Cheese Shop and seeking out new bike trails that lead to the beach.

I’ve also been spending a decent amount of time eating and drinking out. It’s nice and cold and dark inside Brooklyn’s many bars and restaurants, more than I can say for my sweltering apartment. My favorite haunt of late has been the Williamsburg gem Allswell. With a beautifully crafted daily menu chock-full of seasonal produce, late-night meals like fried chicken-topped pancakes, and refreshing summer sips like the Midnight Stinger (bourbon, Fernet Branca, lemon, and muddled mint) Allswell is the perfect place to while away an afternoon or evening staying cool.

The unfortunate flip side to all this is that I’ve been spending little time cooking at home and even less working on this page. I love sharing recipes and stories here, but summer is really about beach trips, cold beer, peaches and tomatoes and berries, and celebrating the season with your favorite people. I don’t expect to be posting too much in the coming weeks because I’d rather be out in the summer sun, picnicking or riding my bike. So, for now, here’s some simple syrups to pour over ice and seltzer or add to a chilly glass of gin. These recipes make enough syrup to last you through the dog days of summer.

Blueberry Mint Syrup

1 quart blueberries
5-10 sprigs mint (depending on how minty you’d like it to be)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until berries have burst from their skins, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature. Strain mixture, squeezing all the juice from the berries by pressing with a wooden spoon. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to two months.

Lavender Lemon Syrup

2 tablespoons dried lavender
2 lemons, peeled
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add all ingredients except for the lemon juice to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let steep for another 20 minutes. Strain lavender and peel from syrup and add lemon juice. Store in an airtight container for up to two months.

To make refreshing, delicious sodas from your syrups, simply add one tablespoon of syrup to one cup of seltzer on ice. These are also delicious when added to lemonades, gin, and vodka.