The weather has been beautiful the last two days in Tokyo. Yesterday, I was able to turn off our air conditioner and open all the windows, letting a fresh, cool breeze invigorate the apartment. The smell and feel of the air was that of an ending summer. It was also the beginning of my favorite season: fall.
Unlike many people I know, I want to get through summer quickly just to get to autumn. If I could find a place that had autumn for most of the year, I would live there in a heart beat. The funny thing is that the weather in Tokyo is similar to a Minnesota fall for much of the year, which I love. The only thing I miss more than anything is the ability to look out my window to see bright oranges, yellows and reds from the ubiquitous maple trees that line the Mississippi River in St. Paul. In Japan, I am blessed to be living in an apartment that sits overlooking the Tamagawa River. No maple trees, but at least there is open space and water.
There are many flavors and scents that I love during the fall season. Rosemary, to me, is one of those herbs that says, in a comforting way, that cooler, cozier weather has arrived. With it’s robust flavor and scent, thoughts of slow-cooked food enter my mind. This hearty herb can also be made to taste a little lighter and more citrusy, which is equally as delicious.
That’s why for this Cocktail Friday, with the presence of fall creeping nearer and nearer, I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate rosemary into a drink. Infusing rosemary leaves into a simple syrup with a little mint, combined with the woodsy smell of pine from the gin, and a little citrus from some lemon juice, this martini combines the last days of summer with the refreshing start of fall.
Rosemary and Mint Martini
Makes 2 Martinis
1/4 cup simple syrup (recipe follows)
6 oz. gin
splash of Vermouth
2 sprigs of rosemary, for garnish
Combine the syrup, gin, vermouth, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until you can’t shake anymore! Pour equally into two martini glasses. Garnish with the rosemary sprigs.
Rosemary-Mint Simple Syrup
Makes 1/4 cup
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon each mint and rosemary leaves, chopped
Combine the sugar, water and chopped herbs in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir over the heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to form a syrup like texture. Pour into a small glass dish and allow to cool.