To quote the late, great Harris Wittels, this is a “humblebrag.”
Except I’m humble bragging about my mother and my husband and their joint garden. They have multiple tomato plants, flowers, herbs (tarragon, basil, basil, more basil, oh, and purple basil, and oregano, cilantro, and parsley), and finally – to my delight – jalapenos and habaneros.
But, for this recipe – we’re going to concentrate on the jalapenos.
Not to humblebrag on behalf of my family, but I’ve never smelled jalapenos this fresh and this citrusy.
Every night we have a cocktail in the backyard and – not to sound indelicate – I fondle the jalapeno peppers when we walk around the garden. The more you handle them, the more of their oil they release. And it’s just, weirdly addictive. It’s a delicate smell that permeates the senses and just makes me grin.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that my most quoted phrase this summer has been, “Have you smelled the jalapenos?”
So, with jalapenos in hand, and lemons on sale at the grocery store, it was finally time to try something I had read about, but never had.
And it’s weird! It’s not spicy at all, but it just tastes like a savory lemonade. Which means that I don’t have adjectives for the drink, but I can say this.
Make it. Try it. Enjoy it.
There’s a background flavor of the peppers with just a tiny tingle on the tongue, but without any burn. It’s crazy refreshing, and before you know it, you’ll always have jalapeno simple syrup in the fridge for lemonade, cocktails, and maybe a fun addition to cornbread.
Or, at the very least, at your next barbeque or picnic you can say, “I just happened to have some jalapenos and lemons kicking around, and then I won the ‘tastiest drink of the summer award.’” And then walk off into the sunset fondling your jalapenos.
Jalapeno Thyme Lemonade
Yields 2 large pitchers.
Jalapeno Simple Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup filtered water
1 large jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, roughly chopped
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk the sugar and water together. When the sugar has dissolved, add the jalapeno.
Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, and let cool.
Discard jalapeno when mixture has cooled.
Simple syrup can be refrigerated for up to five days. Or freeze it for even longer-term storage. It’s like leaving a delicious refreshing present to yourself from yourself. Just thaw it out before adding the syrup.
Jalapeno Thyme Lemonade Ingredients:
1 cup ice
1 cup jalapeno simple syrup
1 cup lemon juice (Approximately 5-6 juiced lemons)*
4 cups filtered water
4 sprigs fresh thyme
Sliced lemon for garnish
Put ice in a large pitcher.
Pour the simple syrup, lemon juice and water over the ice.
Stir well to combine.
Top with fresh thyme sprigs.
*Fun tip: If you buy a bag of lemons to make lemonade, zest the lemons first and then freeze the zest for anytime you don’t have fresh lemons on hand! It thaws in seconds, and ensures that you always have some in a pinch. Thanks for the tip, Mom!