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Simple Syrups Three Ways

Life in Duluth revolves around the lake. Whether you think it cheesy, inspirational, mundane or not; Lake Superior rules. The water is calming, refreshing and gives vitality. We drink the best water in the world (it’s our world) every day, so it’s not surprising that this city on the banks of Lake Superior has attracted Vikre Distillery (a lauded and award-winning company) to hand make its delicious spirits  here.
The following recipes use Vikre Gin (you can sub with your favorite London-dry gin– but you should trust us and try Vikre), Lake Superior Water, and some terminology that you might not be used to or maybe you are. Either way let’s define some words so that we’re all on the same page.

Simple Syrup- Usually a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. You can make Rich Syrup or Weak Syrup by altering the ratio in either direction. You can choose to flavor your simple syrup by adding vegetables, herbs, and botanicals.

Cordial- A more ‘advanced’ version of a simple syrup made by infusing water with flowers and/ or fruits.  Cordial sits for longer than a simple syrup in the fridge and is then strained.

Coupe- A type of stemmed glass with a shallow bowl used for champagne, gimlets, martinis, etc.

Collins-  A tall and narrow glass tumbler glass (think Mojitos).

High Ball- A short and stout glass tumbler (think Old Fashioned).

Sour- 1:1 ratio of Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup + Spirit.

Gimlet- 1:1 ratio of  Lime Juice and Simple Syrup +Spirit (or Lime Cordial + Spirit).

Bitters- A pungent liquor that is made with botanicals and added to cocktails for enhancing its flavor profile.

 

Now that we have that covered we can focus on what’s really fun; making our ingredients and having the satisfaction of enjoying a home-made cocktail from scratch.

We’ll start with some simple syrups:

Lavender Syrup

3 TBSP of Dried Lavender

1 C White Sugar

1 C Water

Bring your water and lavender to a soft boil and stir in your sugar. Once sugar is dissolved bring your syrup down to a simmer and stir for a couple minutes. Let your ingredients steep for 15 minutes off heat. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh. Allow the syrup to cool and keep it refrigerated.

 

Ginger Syrup

1 C Roughly Cut Ginger (1/2 in- 3/4 in)

1 C White Sugar

1 C Water

Bring your water and ginger to a soft boil and stir in your sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, bring your syrup down to a simmer and stir for a couple of minutes. Let your ingredients steep for 15 minutes off heat. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh. If you want to get all of the ginger goodness, use a spoon to press on the softened ginger chunks. Allow the syrup to cool and keep it refrigerated.

 

Basil Syrup

1 C Loosely Packed Basil

1 C White Sugar

1 C Water

Bring your water and basil to a soft boil while stirring occasionally and slowly add in your sugar. Once sugar is dissolved bring your syrup down to a simmer and stir for a couple minutes. Let your ingredients steep for 15 minutes off heat. Strain with cheese cloth or fine mesh. Allow the syrup to cool and keep it refrigerated.

 

Now, what you do with these simple syrups is up to you. You can use them for baking, enhancing your tea, making flavored sodas or making cocktails at home. If you feel like shaking things up, we suggest some variations of sours and gimlets as a go-to for a refreshing evening. If kept in the fridge, your syrup will last about 2 months. 

Lavender Gin Sour

2 oz Vikre Juniper Gin

0.75 oz Lavender Syrup

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

Add the lemon juice, lavender syrup and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. You’ll want to vigorously shake your mix for about 10-15 seconds. Strain into a coupe and enjoy!

Basil Gin Sour

1.5 oz Vikre Juniper Gin

0.75 oz Basil Syrup

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

 

Add the lemon juice, basil syrup and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. You’ll want to vigorously shake your mix for about 10-15 seconds. Strain into a coupe and enjoy!

You can sub the Vikre Boreal Spruce Gin for this cocktail for extra citrus and bright notes.

 

Spring’s in the Air

1.5 oz Vikre Juniper Gin

0.25 oz Ginger Syrup

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

0.50 oz St. Germain (or sub for any Elderflower cordial)

Add the lemon juice, ginger syrup, St. Germain and gin to a shaker and fill with ice. You’ll want to vigorously shake your mix for about 10-15 seconds. Strain into a coupe, garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy!

 

And if coupes are not your style, these syrups lend themselves to make refreshing variations of a Tom Collins.

 

Not Your Average Tom

0.75 oz Lemon Juice

0.75 oz Ginger Syrup

1.5 oz Vikre Boreal Juniper Gin

Soda Water

 

Add the lemon juice, ginger syrup and Juniper Gin to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a highball or Collins glass. Add ice cubes to the top and fill your glass with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wheel or wedge. Enjoy!

 

 

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Top Five Boursin Recipe Ideas

boursin jars

Boursin is a versatile, flavorful, creamy addition to many meals. We started making Boursin at Northern Waters Smokehaus on a whim and it has now become one of our most popular cheese case items. Over the years, we’ve learned to concoct some simple dishes with our Boursin, adding an herbal, lemony lift to veggies and meats alike. Our Mother’s Day Gift Box is a favorite – the combination of smoked Sockeye salmon, crispy crackers, and fluffy cheese is an elegant, binge-worthy snack. Here are the top 5 Boursin recipe ideas (so far) for you. For more exact recipes, email creative [@] nwsmokehaus.com and we’ll do our best to get you cooking with Boursin to mathematical perfection!

Five time-tested, Smokehaus-approved recipe ideas for our Boursin:

#5: Boursin and Endive Bites

Belgian endive is almost always available at the grocery store, even here in the Great White North. These delicate little torpedoes of green are crisp, sweet, and very slightly bitter – a perfect foil for creamy, citric, floral Boursin. Simply trim the endive ends and gently separate the leaves. You will find a delicate little shovel – a great conduit for many mediums, and excellent for a dollop of Boursin. Use a teaspoon to smear the Boursin or get fancy and pipe it (with a pastry bag or clipped plastic one – up to you). We garnish ours with jolly little Sweetie Drops, or pickled Peruvian peppers, but feel free to use your own favorite garnish – paprika, parsley, anything pickled – or go au naturale and let the bite speak for itself.

#4: Steak and Boursin

What can we say? Compound butter + grilled beef = heaven on earth. Useful on any cut, but especially the fatty, interesting ones, like New York strip, Boursin will be the equivalent of a Valentino gown on Sophia Loren: it will cling to it in all the right places. Salt and pepper your steak, let it get to room temperature, cook it over or under hot flame for your desired temperature, let it rest for 5 minutes, dollop with a Tablespoon of Boursin, and let rest for at least another 5 minutes. Devour, with or without starch to sop up the resulting incredible juices.

#3 Chicken and Boursin Surprise

The real surprise here is that this doesn’t exist at every fast-casual American eatery on the planet. This is a simple yet luxurious meal that is quick to construct, satisfying, and actually makes great leftovers for sandwiches. Pound chicken breasts to a ½ inch thickness, spread an even layer of Boursin approximately ¼ inch thick,  and add a layer of cured muscle meat, like prosciutto, jamon serrano, or copa (if you live near the Smokehaus deli or are a member of our Smokehaus of the Month Club, we recommend asking for our Speck or Lonzino). Roll the cutlets into wheels, secure with toothpicks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and fry in good oil until golden and cooked through (165 degrees). Great with buttered, Parmiganno’d pasta, roasted asparagus, or sliced after cooling and served on a leafy green salad.

#2 Boursin Toast

Inspired by a local business that boldly decided to exclusively offer coffee and toast (we miss you, JPH!), we salute the simplicity of a crusty, magnificent slab of Duluth sourdough stuffed into the nearest (and most accommodating) toaster, grilled to pedal-to-the-metal blackish-brownish, and smeared with enough Boursin that it qualifies as a “barge.” Extra points for those who first slather their toast with butter, but enough Boursin will certainly do the trick. Top with sun-ripened tomatoes, crumbled bacon or pancetta, a raisin smiley face (probably gross, but pretty kitschy, no?), or nothing at all.

#1 Boursin and Smoked Turkey Sandwiches

At the risk of redundancy, we here at the Smokehaus are really into sandwiches. We live sandwiches from the moment we flick on our meat case lights and start cutting cucumbers in the morning to the end of the day when Jerry ushers out the last stray customer with a flourish of his vest and stamp on their sandwich card. We fully realize that many would place a steak at #1 on this list, especially considering that a lowly turkey sandwich had secured the top ranking. But we are not many. We are sandwich people. Our original intent for Boursin was on a turkey sandwich, but we quickly realized the delicious nature of said sandwich would backfire and we would have to hire a whole separate person in the summers to exclusively make Boursin to keep up with demand. So here is the catalyst for the hundreds of cute little medicine jars of Boursin we sell, revealed at last, The Green Meanie: buy or make some naan (we use Stonefire, and it’s really good), and warm it in the oven. Slather liberally with Boursin. Aim the point of your naan to the left to orient the sandwich. In a vertical line down the center, place an even row of cucumber slices, basil leaves, pickled jalapenos, and as much smoked turkey as you like (but don’t get crazy, you need to roll this up). Starting at the wide end, roll the sandwich, tucking stray ingredients as you go. Slice in half and savor a Smokehaus secret.