With the long hard winter now behind us, nobody wants to hear the word “snow” again for a very long time. But the “ivory snow” that is showing up in most of our neighbourhoods this time of year is another story.
The beautiful, fragrant blooms of the Japanese lilac (AKA ivory snow, or the more common lilac-coloured, um, lilacs) are Mother Nature’s salute to spring/early summer.
What’s more? These blooms are edible. The lilac’s intoxicating and prolific scent can be infused into food and drink alike to bring out the delicate, and slightly citrusy, floral notes.
Lilac flowers are also edible straight-up, but they have a bitterness that makes munching on them much less appealing. Making this syrup, however, is worth the very minimal effort it takes to dip your toes into the edible flower waters.
But delicious sipping is not all this drink has to offer. Research shows that smelling flowers is good for mental health. Olfactory (or smell) cells in the nose are connected to the limbic system, which is responsible for regulating behaviour and emotions. In a nutshell, smelling flowers can actually put us in a good mood—a perfect reason to sip the season with this thirst-quenching Lilac Bloom Refresher.
That’s some serious flower power.
*Hurry up and get the lilacs while they’re still around. They’ll be gone in the blink of an eye!
Lilac Bloom Refresher
Place the simple syrup, gin, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice cubes. Shake until combined and chilled, about 15 seconds. Top with soda water, stir to combine, and taste. Adjust with a little more lemon juice or soda water, as desired. Pour into glasses with lilac bloom ice cubes, or regular ice cubes (see method below).
Lilac Simple Syrup
Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lilac flowers. Allow to steep for at least 15-20 minutes before straining. If you have more time, let them steep overnight. This will enhance the flavour. The syrup will keep in a glass jar in the fridge for several months.
Lilac Bloom Ice Cubes, optional
To make these ice cubes, simply put some lilac flowers into an ice cube tray and cover with water. Freeze for several hours until frozen. You will inevitably have some blooms that poke out of the water/ice cube and turn brown from the cold. You can just rub these off. The white petals and green stems will remain beautifully in tact in the tray.