Valentine’s Day celebrations change once you have kids. Instead of enjoying a quiet dinner at home, we make pink frosted cookies and immerse ourselves in the glittered frenzy of school Valentine card prep. But I am not complaining, I love seeing this holiday through my daughter’s lens. It is much sweeter than the lens of ideal romantic love. As much as I would love to go on a rant about the social construction of romantic love and diamond cartel marketing campaigns, I will focus my attention on celebrating and nourishing our hearts.
This week brought a lot of welcome changes, but my heart is feeling a bit unsettled. Transitions, no matter how welcome, bring unknown elements. We have been so busy preparing and celebrating and now we are facing the inevitable clean up. The seasons are changing here too. Our crocuses, cherry blossoms, and daffodils are in bloom. The air is buzzing with potential energy.
I want to share a nourishing cocktail syrup that I made for our Valentine’s Day. This syrup combines some of my favorite romantic flavors such as saffron, rose, and ginger. I added a healthy dose of rose hips, hawthorn berries, and schisandra berries. Rose hips boost the immune system. Hawthorn strengthens and tones the heart muscles. Schisandra berries improve energy levels, reduce stress hormones in the body, and quiets the mind. All wonderful things to show our hearts some love.
Hawthorn Saffron Rose Syrup
This is a warm, romantic blend of berries, herbs, and spices. A teaspoon of black cardamom seeds or a few frozen red raspberries would be welcome additions. The hawthorn, rose hips, and/or schisandra can easily be left out. I made this syrup for cocktails, but I know it would be be nice mixed into my morning yogurt or blended into a lassi. It would also make a nice glaze for a pistachio or almond cake.
Yield: A little more than 1 cup of syrup
1 cup sugar or honey
1 cup water
A 2" knob of ginger, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried hawthorn berries
1 tablespoon dried rose hips
½ tablespoon dried rose petals
1 teaspoon dried schisandra beries
zest from one small lime
5 - 10 threads of saffron
Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer on medium low heat for about ten minutes, until all sugar has melted. Cool in pan for an hour. Strain into a jar or bottle. This syrup will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.
A Love Potion for a Weary Heart
Let's give our hearts some love. I think Martin Miller's gin or a London dry gin pairs really well with bright fruity citrus, but a juniper forward gin like New Deal No. 1is good here too.
Makes 2 cocktails
2 ounces lime juice
juice from one tangerine
2.5 ounces hawthorn saffron syrup (recipe above)
a few dashes of orange, lime, or cardamom bitters
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Strain into chilled coupe glasses. Garnish with a small pinch of ground dried rose petals. I simply grind the petals with my fingers, but a mortar and pestle works well too.