Do you ever one of those experiences that just makes you melt? Like something so yummy you close your eyes and savor it on your tongue? Or maybe a sunset so spectacular your heart feels like you can't fit any more in it? Or when your child out of the blue says something so sweet and endearing you think, could I be anymore blessed?
Did I get a little syrupy sweet on you there?
That's okay, because this post is all about simple syrup and some DELICIOUSNESS you cannot pass up.
A few weeks ago, when our house was filled with grandparents and they outnumbered our children, they were ever so kind. They offered to take care of our little bird and our stinker belle while we could...
go away for a few days!
If you have littles and you haven't had yet this opportunity, then you understand the preciousness of it. It's like a rare gem, especially if you don't live close to your family, as in our case. Now, our youngest is closing in on 22 months and, in all that time, I had been away for a full day, at best. Needless to say, this was a long time in coming and we weren't going to say no. It was more like HELL YEAH!
We're very fortunate to have some great friends here who invited us to check out Crested Butte. For those of you who've been there, I bet a big smile just came over your face. If you haven't been, please, please visit, google it, get there vicariously, or just get there. It's gorgeous. Breathtaking in fact. The drive there ain't so bad either. We left about 5:30 am and, after driving over an icy, precarious Monrach Pass so slowly we probably pissed off other drivers, and stopping for brunch in Gunnison on the main drag, which is ridiculously adorable, we made it Crested Butte around 11-11:30. Long drive, brilliant sunrise, bitter cold, icy roads, so worth it.
If that doesn't make you itchy to visit, check out the quaint downtown.
Yes, people really do ride their bikes around in the snow. Just like Minneapolis/St. Paul. They pop on fat snow tires (sometimes) and just go on their merry way. And really, everybody is pretty merry. Whether it's the beauty that surrounds them, a day of skiing or snowboarding on the mountains that invigorates them, or the myriad gastronomic choices available to them in this small town, everyone is in a good mood. Can't beat that.
We hadn't been snowboarding since before our little bird was born, so we were a wee bit hesitant of going all day and then waking up unable to move the next. Been there before! Instead, we snowboarded one day, then took a "break" by getting in some cross-country skiing and exploring the downtown. There we were led by our good friend to this little gem.
Montanya Rum is a distillery that also offers free rum tastings, distillery tours, artisan cocktails, appetizers and small plates, bottles of rum, and more. They are small and cozy, which I love, and even have a kids nook upstairs, and a kid specialty called the Snowball, essentially a glass full of whipped cream!
They also have amazing mixed drinks.
Now, normally I'm not a big rum drinker. I prefer whiskey over rum any day. But this drink had me at namaste. It's called a Maharaja and yes, it is fit for a king, or queen in this instance. It's complex, with both a brightness and depth I couldn't believe, but kept rolling over my tongue with closed eyes, basking in all its yumminess. As we enjoyed our drinks and well-earned tapas after a good effort alpine skiing, I kept thinking in my head how I could make this luciousness at home.
I think I figured it out.
And so I bring to you the Maharani, the female equivalent. Ready to feel royal?
Recipe adapted from montanyarum.com
To make the syrup
Dry roast your peppercorns in a small pot until they start to release their aroma. Then add water and sugar to peppercorns. Stir on medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to a small bowl or back to your glass measuring cup and let it steep to release the full, smoky flavor of the peppercorns, about 30 minutes. Then, using a strainer, pour your syrup through the catch the peppercorns. It should have a nice golden color.
Once the peppery syrup is cool you can add in your drops of essential oils and a small pinch (less than 1/4 tsp) of fine salt. To get less than a drop of essential oil from the bottle, insert a toothpick into the dropper and swirl the toothpick into your syrup. Stir, transfer to glass container, store in the fridge.
To make your Maharani:
Want to get super fancy? Mix together turbinado sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice or other favorite spice, wet the rim of your glass and swirl. Isn't she pretty? And oh my gosh, she is so freaking tasty it'll knock your socks off.
So, now you've got this amazing essential simple syrup. What else can you do with it? Here are five more ideas for you!
**I also found that you can substitute Stevia for sugar if you are on the sugar-free road. To make sugar-free Maharani syrup boil 2 cups water, add 1/4 cup (20-25 packets), simmer until dissovled and let cool before adding your oils.
I'm going to be launching a line of Essentially Simple Syrups (in sugar-free options, too!) in the next few weeks. As I perfect the syrups, sample drinks, compile recipes, and create labels, I'll add them to my shopping cart above. You'll be able to purchase and have them shipped, along with a recipe card. I'm super excited about this new endeavor and hope you'll enjoy them all!