Farmers Markets are slowly reopening in Chicago. I like this time of year, the produce tastes good, and it’s fun to be outdoors. But I often buy stuff just for the novelty of buying stuff, which is stupid. Sometimes, though, it pays off—like with the bunch of lovage that I impulse-bought at Green City Market on Saturday. I don’t see lovage very often, and I got excited. For those of you unfamiliar, lovage is herbaceous plant that tastes somewhat like celery—though more intense, and perhaps also a bit like lime. It’s delicious.
I improvised a syrup using the lovage I bought. After making the syrup, I remembered that I had come across a cocktail recipe using lovage at some point. I found it in the Franny’s cookbook. It was for a “celery” soda. It couldn’t be simpler, you combine some of the lovage syrup with a bit of lime juice and a couple of dashes of celery bitters (which we happened to have, though they are not strictly necessary). Add sparkling water and you have one of the freshest, most delicious soft drinks I’ve ever had—though a little gin wouldn’t hurt. It was so good that it got me thinking about a drink of summer—the drink of summer. This lovage syrup seems like a good starting point.
Fun fact: The stalks of lovage are hollow and can be used as straws. How Pinterest-able is that?
More information on lovage here.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup (packed) lovage leaves
Combine the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Add the lovage leaves and stir to combine. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 2-3 hours. Strain syrup into a glass jar (pressing on leaves to extract all of the syrup) and store in the refrigerator. The syrup will keep well for at least a couple of months.