There is a farmer’s market in Pioneer Park located in downtown Salt Lake City. I love going to the market because it is far more than a hangout for the local fresh fruit and vegetable vendors. There are lots of arts and crafts booths, an array of musicians scattered here a there around the park and some great foodie oriented vendors peddling everything from crusty breads to boiled peanuts.
In a post from a few years ago I raved about Fresh Limeade with Mint, which I first had at the farmer’s market. The limeade was so addicting that when I got home I had to figure out a similar recipe for myself. Despite the fact that limeade from my homemade recipe tastes great, I still have to drop by the Sweet Salt Lake booth for a glass of the original every time I go to the market.
As if the limeade with mint wasn’t enough, last year I found a vendor, Sugar House Libations, who sells simple syrups infused with fruit and herbs in various combinations. They have flavors such as Strawberry-Thyme, Pear-Ginger, Raspberry-Mint and Apricot-Lemongrass. All of them are inspiring, but the one with which I fell in love was the Raspberry-Mint.
I usually go through a lemon phase every summer, but mint seems to be edging out lemon this summer. Don’t tell lemon that I am having an affair with mint. I don’t want them beating each other up in the fridge when my back is turned.
Using the creations by Sugar House Libations as a template, I decided to make my own infused syrup. I found some excellent blueberries, strawberries and blackberries recently and decided that they would make some amazing syrup. Because I have had a lifelong problem choosing between two or more equally appealing prospects, I decided to use a mixture of berries instead of just one type. The paring of mint with the berries moves the flavor profile towards ultimate refreshment.
The infused simple syrup is very easy to make, requiring hardly any effort at all. Mix white sugar and water in a 1:1 ratio, bring it to a boil, then add crushed berries and a sprig of mint for each cup of berries. Return the ingredients to a boil, then turn off the heat, cover pot with a lid and allow everything to steep for a few hours. Remove the spent berries and discard. Strain the syrup through a wire mesh strainer, put in a glass jar and store it it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I have not yet experimented with freezing the syrup, but I would imagine it would work well and could be stored for several months that way.
I like to mix 3-4 tablespoons of syrup with a cup of club soda and serve it over a tall glass of ice. Less syrup can be used with the same amount of club soda, as well, giving a soft hint of flavor. I like it both ways, using less syrup for a light refreshing anytime drink, and more syrup for fuller flavor when served at a gathering. Brew up a batch of this berry-mint infused simple syrup and keep it on hand in the refrigerator for making a Berry-Mint Sipper anytime.