It’s almost spring! We’ve got one day to go (and a sassy, unwelcome turd of a snowstorm here in the northeastern U.S.) before we’re in the clear. The change of season already has me excited for the fresh flavors of spring. Because I’m a terribly impatient person, I’m prepping myself with springtime cocktails and playing around with unfamiliar flavors.
Growing up, tarragon was not a welcome ingredient in our kitchen at home. My mom, bless her heart, had a lonely love affair with it, while my dad and I despised it’s pungent, grassy anise flavor. On occasion, the slightest hint of tarragon would find its way into our meals – usually flavoring sauce on chicken, and we would politely eat, offering that one up to Barb for her love and labor in the kitchen.
My palate has come to accept and even love flavors I once hated, but tarragon is not one of those foods. Although it won’t detract from my enjoyment if it shows up in something I’m eating, I still often find it easily overpowering. I really do want to like it, so I figured I’d just start cooking and concocting with it until I do. So, I put it in a damn cocktail.
I love using fresh herbs in cocktails, especially with gin – they accentuate the botanicals and make drinks even more refreshing. I wanted to get a nice hint of tarragon, but to keep the flavor mellow, I decided to infuse it into simple syrup with some mint and use that to sweeten a gin fizz. Making your own simple syrup is super-easy – just dissolve equal parts sugar and water (plus any flavorings you’d like) in a saucepan on very low heat.
The result is sweet, light, cooling, and a little surprising! The tarragon adds a little kick at the end that’s almost a little savory. I’ve got a great springtime drink – now I just need the weather to catch up so I can sip it outside on the patio tackling my Goodreads challenge list.
- 2 oz. London dry gin
- 1 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ oz. mint tarragon simple syrup (recipe below)
- 4 oz. club soda
- Mint Tarragon Simple Syrup:
- 1 sprig fresh mint
- 1 sprig fresh tarragon
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup sugar
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup; shake that sucker for 15 seconds. Strain into a collins glass half filled with ice; top with club soda. Garnish with fresh mint and a twist.