Every spring I look forward to planting my herb garden. It's so convenient to slip out back, snip a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme, basil or oregano straight from the garden, and add them to whatever you may be creating in the kitchen.

The same can be said for having an herb-infused simple syrup on hand for dressing up your favorite spring or summer cocktail. I took things a step further by preserving the syrup as ice cubes to visually and tastefully dress up a favorite cocktail. Plus, you'll always have it handy whenever cocktail hour strikes. I chose thyme for this particular recipe, but most garden herbs would substitute well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup refined sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

Start by heating up the water in a small pot and stirring in the sugar. Throw in the sprigs of thyme, and as the water starts to heat up and the sugar dissolves, press the herbs gently to the bottom of the pan with the edge of a wooden spoon to bruise the leaves and release their oils. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove the pan from heat and allow the leaves to steep for 20 minutes.

Strain the simple syrup through a sieve, into a container or mason jar.

Add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup to each of an ice cube tray's compartments and fill the rest of the way with water. Snip portions of a fresh thyme sprig into each cube tray. Place in the freezer until solid cubes form.

Depending on how sweet you would like your cocktail, you can use the ice cube alone in your drink, or add some simple syrup in addition to the cube. Place the ice cube in the glass first, then pour the cocktail over it to melt it a little. Stir and serve with a sprig of thyme. A great cocktail to go with these ice cubes is a bee's knees! Just use a mixture of thyme simple syrup and an ice cube.

Looking for more cocktails that utilize fresh thyme? Check out these seasonal recipes. Cheers!