I love making gifts for people, especially if they are delicious. I do get tired, though, of always doing the easy go to baked goods. Cookies are great, but even Cookie Monster wants a little change up once in a while. Well, ok, maybe not Cookie Monster, but I don’t give him gifts, so I am looking for a little variety for my recipients.

One of my favorite things to make at home is flavored simple syrup. It is a great way to use up the last bits of fresh herbs, get a bit more out of citrus peels or experiment with teas. The result makes for great home made sodas, mixed drinks or desserts. And, it couldn’t be easier to do. Equal parts sugar and water and whatever flavoring you are using. Boil to a syrup and, voila, luscious liquid. To give as a gift, I suggest making 3-5 varieties and packaging them in attractive bottles or jars. Include use and recipe ideas. You could give them with the other components for mixed drinks, or with special glasses. You are limited only by your imagination! Here is a list of flavors to consider:

vanilla

cinnamon

lemon

orange

pomegranate

mint

rosemary

basil

lemongrass

any tea variety

coffee

I can’t really say this is a recipe, it’s so simple, but here is the method: place one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a saucepan. Add your flavoring. Amounts? For the citrus – several good sized peels (avoiding the white pith). Herbs – a good handful/3-5 sprigs. Tea – couple bags. You get the idea. Play around, try things out. Bring it all to a gentle boil for a few minutes then take it off the heat. Let it cool, strain out the flavor add ins, and store.

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