I feel a bit like I need a pitch for this, like I can’t just post a recipe for syrup that tastes remarkably like celery without selling it first. This might have something to do with the fact that I spent a fair chunk of yesterday, catching up on a certain tv show, but I’m ready to roll out a full-on publicity blitz for lovage. There will most certainly be bad puns because (wait for it) you’ll love lovage.
Lovage is native to western Asia and the Mediterranean, and was admired by the ancient Greeks and Romans for its medicinal as well as for its culinary properties – it was believed to cure everything from rheumatism to sore throats and indigestion. Medieval travelers tucked the leaves into their shoes because of their antiseptic and deodorising properties. Charlemagne was so smitten, he ordered it to be grown in all of his gardens. As the name suggests, it was also thought to be an aphrodisiac (we also used to call it “love parsley”).
Can you really say no to something called “love parsley?” In case you can, I’ll add that although celery is certainly a comparable taste to lovage, I really couldn’t care less about celery and I adore this syrup. Stirring it into some seltzer will be one of the more refreshing things you do for yourself this summer. This is the first week I caught it at the greenmarket here in the northeast, so now is an ideal time to seek some out.
Lovage Simple Syrup
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar (I used refined white sugar for aesthetic reasons)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup (20 g) lovage roughly chopped
- Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat.
- Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 30 minutes.
- Pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove the cooked lovage and refrigerate the syrup.
- Makes just shy of 1 pint.
My Sweet Celery Cocktail
Yield: 1 cocktail
- 1 1/2 oz vodka (I used Tito's)
- 3/4 oz lovage syrup
- 3/4 oz St. Germain
- Combine everything except the seltzer in a tumbler with ice cubes.
- Top with seltzer to taste and stir.
- Adapted from Franny’s and the New York Times.
- This cocktail is definitely on the sweet side. Cut it with some lemon juice or just add a little more seltzer if it’s too much for your taste.