The first time I had elderflower syrup, I was in Slovakia. My cousin offered my up some yellowish syrup and I absentmindedly agreed to a glass. My family there had always made raspberry and apple juice from the garden, but elderflower? That was new. With my first sip, I thought the heavens had opened up and filled my mouth with this delicate taste of flowers and spring. It was like gulping down perfectly sweetened bouquets. Not too floral or perfumy. I became obsessed.
When I returned back to Los Angeles, I bought a Samdal and a Samyl pair. Finally, it’s producing enough to do a proper harvest. I’ve also discovered that the plants grow wild everywhere in Los Angeles. So keep your eyes out for them. They flower in spring, so make sure you get your foraging on early.
- 2.25 cups (532 milliliters) water
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1-2 ounces (40-50 grams) elderflower heads
- Cut elderflowers from a bush, but don't wash because you'll wash off the pollen, which is what makes the syrup yummy. Try to take off as much of the stems as possible. Combine the sugar and water in a pot and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature and then add the flowers, sliced lemons and the lemon juice. Let the mixture sit 24-48 hours in the refrigerator. Strain through a cheesecloth into a clean glass container. Keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks or seal in a hot bath, if you want to store for longer.
- Pour a small amount of the cordial into a glass and mix with water, preferably bubbly water. Enjoy!
Sometimes sleep deprivation can be the source of pure, indisputable genius. As my sister worked a nightshift, she sent me a photo of the linen closet in her call room.
She’s so right. Vladimir Lenin, head of the Bolsheviks, was a brutal dictator. You certainly wouldn’t want to be in a hospital saving lives at 3 a.m. and then be insulted with the dirty version of a mass murderer in a room that already looks a lot like a jail cell.
To me, the unfortunate spelling error sounded a lot like a cocktail. So, we came up with the Dirty Lenin: a cross between a White Russian and a Dirty Martini. A drink, so pioneering, it’s worthy of Sandra Lee’s Cocktail Time. I’m sure, we’ll be ghostwriting cocktail recipes for New York’s Semi-First Lady before we know it.
- 1 part Kahlúa
- 1 part vodka
- 1 part gin
- 1 part half and half
- 1 part olive juice
- A splash of vermouth in the glass
- Dill for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add Kahlúa, vodka, gin, half and half and olive juice. Swirl the vermouth in a chilled martini glass and strain the cocktail into glass. Garnish with a sprig of dill.