While the days are still warm and the harvest season is ripe, it’s delightful to sit in the garden and enjoy the fruits of the the seasons’ labors. This includes using up herbs that will soon fade as the cool nights become more frequent and frost’s breath touches the land.
One of the herbs I love using from the garden is lovage, or løpstikke. Lovage is a hardy plant, growing tall, and coming up every year. It’s leaves are similar to flat leaf parsley – bright and green with a glossy texture. Lovage tastes and smells similar to celery and parsley, but is intensely aromatic, so a little goes a long way.
I usually toss a few lovage leaves in soup, salads and sandwiches and cook along with mains like fish and chicken. For something a little different, I wanted to make a drink that highlighted this beautiful herb and could be enjoyed out in the garden, so this gin and soda with lovage syrup was born.
This refreshing drink highlights the smoothness of gin with the peppery notes from a simple syrup made of lovage from the garden. It couldn’t be easier to whip together and serve to friends on a hot day while sitting outside and enjoying the weather.
I recommend using one of the brilliant gins produced in Norway, such as Bareksten. The syrup can be stored for a week, so you can enjoy this smooth, summer drink more than once.
Gin and Soda with Lovage (gin med løpstikke)
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- 4 large sprigs of fresh lovage
For the cocktail (makes 1 cocktail)
- 2 ounces (60 ml) Norwegian gin
- 1-ounce (30 ml) lovage syrup
- 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 to 4 ounces (90 to 120 ml) of soda
In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a simmer over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat, add in the lovage sprigs, cover, and steep for 30 minutes or until the flavors have infused. Strain the syrup into a clean glass jar and set aside to cool.
When ready to serve, fill a tall glass with ice. Pour in the gin, syrup, lime juice, and soda. Give it a gently stir, garnish with more lovage, and serve.