Flavored simple syrups offer endless possibilities for drinks and gelatin molds. After enjoying the unique gelatinous merging of basil with blueberry lemonade and vodka and fig and cardamom cream with rum, I have continued to create various syrups with fresh herbs, spices, and dried fruits. To experiment with flavor combinations, I paired the syrups with juices, fruits, teas, club soda, tonic water, and occasionally booze (see the lemonade with thyme and strawberries pictured below).
In the midst of this enjoyable summer experimentation, a few combinations stood out as potential gelatin molds. (Yes, there are more herb-infused gelatins to come!) This gelatin mold consists of lemons, thyme, sugar, club soda, and vodka. A few of my friends winced at the mention of thyme in a gelatin mold, but after tasting they understood. The thyme compliments the lemons and vodka, while the sugar and club soda provide a sparkly sweetness.
Recipe for 3.5 cups
- 2 packets Knox gelatin
- ½ cup water (for blooming*)
- ¾ cup water (for syrup)
- ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
- Juice of one lemon (approx. ¼ cup) with zest reserved
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or to taste, thyme is a strong herb)
- ¾ cup vodka
- ¾ cup club soda
Put ½ cup of water in a small bowl and sprinkle the 2 packets of gelatin on top of the water. Set bowl aside. (*This is called “blooming.” Blooming allows gelatin to absorb water and thus dissolve easily when added to hot liquid.)
Put water, sugar, and lemon juice a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and thyme. Let stew for 10-minutes. Strain the lemon/thyme syrup, and return to saucepan. Bring to boil, remove from heat, and add the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in cold vodka and club soda. Spoon mixture into mold(s).