Since moving to the country I’ve become pretty fascinated by all the wild plants and flowers growing around our property. It feels like each day I’m out exploring, I discover a new plant that can be used for medicine, that we could cook with, or if I suddenly want to become a black widow and poison my spouse.. there’s a few plants for that too! Just kidding.. I’ll keep you around for now, Chris. Thankfully one of the more vibrant and fragrant spring blooms I’ve found is actually not poisonous at all. These little Grape Hyacinths are not like traditional Hyacinths (which can be poisonous) and I’m sure you’ve seen them pop up each spring.
After seeing several people share recipes for Grape Hyacinth Lemonade on TikTok last year, I knew I had to create my own concoction with these. I started with a batch of homemade Grape Hyacinth simple syrup, which was surprisingly easy to make. I paired a little of that with gin, Elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and egg white to put my own spring spin on a classic Gin Fizz. The end result is a lightly sweet, floral cocktail with a beautiful purple-pink hue and a frothy top. Since the flower has high amounts of anthocyanin (the pigment in the flowers) when you add lime or lemon juice it turns it pink. Science lesson and you get a buzz? That’s a win-win!
Get out and get foraging to make your own because this is the perfect cocktail to sip outside, barefoot, enjoying the first warm days of spring.
Grape Hyacinth Simple Syrup
1 cup Grape Hyacinth flower buds*
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
*Be sure to rinse your flowers to remove any insects and strip the buds completely from the stem. Leaving the stem could result in a bitter tasting syrup. Another tip when it comes to harvesting these.. The bees LOVE them! If you can, wait until the afternoon to harvest yours so the bees get to enjoy them all morning.
Place your flower buds in a large canning jar, followed by the cup of sugar. Heat the cup of water in a tea kettle or small saucepan until it’s boiling. Pour over the sugar and flower buds. Seal with a lid, wrap in a dish towel (so you don’t burn your hands), and shake until the sugar is completely dissolved. I let mine completely cool on the counter overnight to get the richest purple coloring that I could (and also because I had about 30 other projects going on), but it should be good after 3 or 4 hours. Strain into a new jar, seal, and store in the fridge until ready to use.
And now for the drink!
Grape Hyacinth Gin Fizz
(makes 1 cocktail)
1 1/2oz gin
1/2oz Elderflower liqueur**
1oz Grape Hyacinth simple syrup
1oz lime juice
1 egg white
-Consuming raw eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness. Be sure to research best practices and tips regarding raw eggs.
**It took me a long time to track down Elderflower liqueur where I live (it’s also a little pricey) so you can always leave this out and just do a 1/2oz more of gin instead.
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mason jar, then cover and shake well. Add a few ice cubes and shake some more. Strain into a glass, garnish with edible flowers or mint, and serve.