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Lemon Simple Syrup

It’s pretty hot out now, isn’t it? It’s so hot that people have been frying eggs on the sidewalk, spending hours in ice baths, and forgoing fashions for summer-time comfort. I would say that this is the temperature and time of year that I love most, but given the unexpected range and severity of this heat, I recognize that this has gone from pleasantly baking-type heat to human health hazard heat.

If you are facing some of these record highs, be sure to drink plenty of water, run the air conditioning, and be aware of the effects of the heat on sensitive groups, like the elderly and small children. If you do not have air conditioning, go somewhere with air conditioning. Some cities have cooling centers or shelters that can provide some vital, life-saving respite from the heat. Please stay safe out there.

For those of you facing these uncomfortable temperatures in safety, the recipe this week of simple syrup is for you. I can only hope that the prospect of cool lemony beverages of all types can make the hot hot heat a little more bearable. The lemon flavor allows it to serve as a base for a refreshing pitcher of lemonade or as a mixer for a cold, alcoholic beverage. Its versatility but constant dedication to chill times is what makes this simple syrup such a winner. Unfortunately, this simple syrup does require a little  boiling water, but not for too long and if you do it late at night when the temperatures have dropped a little bit, then the syrup can chill in the fridge until it has be to called to duty in the middle of the next day.

So here’s what you need:

2 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

1 cup of lemon juice

the zest from the lemons

So simple syrup can be done two ways. The first is the quick one-to-one ratio. I like this ratio the best; however, if you’re looking for a bit more sweet, you can also do a two-to-one ratio of the sugar to the water. This simple syrup tends to keep for a bit longer, especially when alcohol is added. You don’t need to use as much of it for drinks, and some people prefer it. For this recipe, I’m going with the tried and true one-to-one.

Put the sugar, water, and lemon zest in a pot over medium-high heat and let it boil.  All the while stir, stir, stir until the sugar has all dissolved. The magic of chemistry means that the higher heat allows more sugar to dissolve in the water, making this step particularly crucial. After all of the sugar has dissolved, turn off the heat. Let it cool a little so it’s easier to work with and send the syrup through a sieve to catch all of the lemon zest. Then, have the syrup cool all the way down to room temperature before adding in the lemon juice. Refrigerate if needed. Otherwise, add some water for lemonade, or, and this is something that I’ve been dying to try out since I heard about it, add some gin and a sprig of rosemary for a summer cocktail.

Stay cool and safe everyone!

5 replies on “Lemon Simple Syrup”

I might try this in lieu of the normal sour mix I usually mix with my whiskey. The trick will be finding time to do all the lemony bits when the person who is deathly allergic to citrus oils is out of the house. Juicing and zesting a lemon near her sounds like a good way to need to take her to the ER.

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