BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

In support of summer weather I bring you this cooling drink so you can settle into the deep heat. Let if flow over you; welcome it because it won't stay forever and you'll be craving it soon. Sip cold drinks, point fans at your barely clothed body and avoid turning on your oven. This is how I live in hot summer months. 

Pros of Hot Weather

  • No need for a sauna, you live in one
  • A multitude of cold drinks all day long
  • Swimming feels exceptional and necessary
  • Being lazy and not feeling bad about it 
  • Patio drinks
  • Rose wine (or frose)
  • Hair on head grows faster

Cons of Hot Weather

  • Hair on body grows faster
  • Bugs everywhere
  • Hot garbage smell (in the city)
  • Hot manure smell (in the country)
  • Under boob sweat
  • Back sweat pooling in butt crack
  • Chub rub– the struggle is real my fellow thick thigh ladies (and men).
  • It's so hot your drink sweats and slips out of your hand and spills all over your new summer dress. But at least you're cooled off so maybe it's a pro?

I've been obsessed with blueberries lately (see my blueberry tarragon gravlax). They are a classic Canadian summer food and I feel the need to devour them in pies, smoothies, jams, muffins or all on their own. They awaken memories of wandering through forests, swimming in lakes and the sound of cicadas on hot days. 

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
yellow water lily + my bff Alex

yellow water lily + my bff Alex

I just returned from a camping trip with two of my favourite people and we had the most amazing time. We canoed down a river filled with lilies and lily pads, saw blue herons up close, bought doughnut and watermelon floaties and swam in the waves of Lake Huron, made delicious camp food, played cards, sipped on these wine-ciders (half cider + half pinot noir = the perfect cooler), listened to baby wolves howling at night and relaxed into our naturey surroundings. It reminded me how peaceful and calming my mind can be and how connected I feel in the outdoors. It reminded me I live in an outrageously beautiful country with a rich history of people who lived off this land and respected it to the highest degree. It reminded me of the beauty all over the world and how much I still want to see and experience. As much as I tend to dislike winters in Canada (which feel never ending), the summers are so gorgeous that it might make up for it. No Canadian has ever uttered the words “Winters go by so fast!". If they do they're lying and are probably trying to get you to visit when it's cold and dark and all they'll want to do is cuddle and eat bread. Don't. Do. It.

But do come in the summer. It is breathtaking. 

white water lily

white water lily

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

Let's talk simple syrup for a hot minute. I want to show you how to make your own easily and with more exciting things than white sugar. This recipe calls for a honey simple syrup. Don't worry, it takes no time and you'll have a new skill to impress people with. 

Standard simple syrup recipes are a 1:1 ratio of sugar/sweetener to water. If you prefer a thinner less sweet syrup, add a bit more water than sugar. If you prefer a thicker sweeter syrup, add more sugar than water. “Rich syrup" is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Usually simple syrup is made by adding water and sugar/sweetener of choice to a small pot and heating to just before a boil until fully dissolved. But there is no need to turn on the stove on a hot day. Below I have included the lazy person's way which is how I usually make drink syrups of all kinds. 

Make simple syrups out of any of the following for subtle but different flavours:

  • Demerara or turbinado syrup– for a deeper more caramel-like flavour. Good for tropical drinks/ rum drinks.
  • Honey syrup– you can use any type of honey you like. Good for iced black/green tea, drinks with jasmine, gin, lemon, or bourbon. 
  • Agave syrup– the lighter in colour the agave is, the more it will taste like classic simple syrup. The darker in colour the more rich the flavour will be, closer to honey. Good for margaritas (lighter agave), tequila or mezcal cocktails, drinks with lime or watermelon.
  • Coconut sugar or brown sugar syrup– for a deeper, more molasses-like flavour. Good for winter cocktails, old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails. 
  • Maple syrup– use real maple syrup always. Good for old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails, ciders, mulled wine, dark or light rum, any warm winter flavours like allspice, cinnamon or clove. 

One Minute Honey Simple Syrup Recipe

  • Boil water in your kettle. Add equal parts of honey and boiled water to a container with a tight sealable lid. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until completely dissolved. Keep in fridge for up to one month. Make as much or as little as you like. 
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

the magic

inspiration:                         hot summer days in Canada

the feels:                             sweet, tart, fresh, effervescent

eat with:                              barbecued fish, blueberry tarragon                                                    gravlax, a splash of gin, watermelon                                                  feta salad

might like if you're into:      Foraging, fruit galettes, pine forests,                                                canoeing, The Great Lakes, the sound of                                            cicadas, daddy long legs, wading in                                                  rivers

 

the science

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                       blueberry preserves

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 lemon zested

blueberry lemon soda (one serving)

  • 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) blueberry preserves
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce honey simple syrup (see above for easy one minute recipe)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • mint sprig or lemon wheel for garnish

method:

                                                                                                                                                                                          blueberry preserves 

  1. Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and 4 tablespoons of water to small pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer blueberries for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water if thick. The final consistency should be more like blueberry syrup, not thick like jam. Let cool, pour into mason jar  and seal. Keep in fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months. 

blueberry lemon soda

  1. In a cocktail shaker (or mason jar), add blueberry preserves, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and mint leaves. Fill shaker or jar 3/4 full with ice, seal and shake for 10 seconds. Fill short rocks glass with ice, open cocktail shaker and strain (with cocktail strainer or hand held strainer) over rocks glass. Top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with mint sprig or sliced lemon wheel. If using a bigger/taller glass or making two, double the ratios in the recipe. 

 

RASPBERRY CHIA SEED JAM

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca

Full winter mode is in effect. I'm making soup after soup, the tea kettle is always warm, and I've resolved to my usual winter introversion of staying in most evenings. I swing back and forth between embracing hibernation and seriously contemplating why I live in such a cold place during these months.

Pros of Winter

  • daydreaming about summer
  • romancing a hot babe with 69 candles and a dusty grey-brown space heater because every old building in Toronto is never warm enough.
  • pasta every other night seems reasonable
  • wearing big blankety scarves. No joke, the other day someone told me my scarf made me look like I was from The Revenant. Ummm thank you. They were bad asses and also very cold like me.
  • catching up on all your tv shows and internet memes
  • onesies are appropriate at any hour (are they though?", said a work friend when I demanded I should be allowed to wear one to my job.)
  • The snow is pretty and makes it look like Narnia. (But let's not forget how messed up Narnia was. Firstly, the evil queen cast a spell so that it's permanent winter. So yeah, it was beautiful and magical or whatever, but even the evil queen couldn't think of a worse punishment than infinite winter. Also, Mr. Tumnus is a uber creep. He lures a little girl into his underground lair or home", drugs her drink, and then hypnotizes her with his pan flute and fire demons. Ummmmm whaaaaaat?!?!  Just watch this scene and try and tell me different.)

Cons of Winter

  • toes turn to icicles for 5 months straight
  • buying tubs of moisturizer to prevent a reptile-like appearance
  • everyone has a slight to severe amount of depression
  • the air hurts your face
  • the air hurts your lungs
  • produce is often unripe. My current avocados are more fossilized dinosaur eggs rather than fruit or vegetable. 
  • morphing into a jelly-like blob from too many hours of Netflix and bowls of pasta
  • slipping on ice because 1) it hurts and 2) it's very embarrassing and people always ask if you're okay and you say yeah, I'm fine" when you're not really sure if you are fine and all you want to do is have a frustrated-painful cry for like one minute. 

To improve my winter depression I must have light and fresh things around to whisper sweet summer nothings into my ear. Raspberry jam is my favourite preserve and reminds me of my grandmother's garden where fresh herbs, rhubarb and raspberries would flourish. I bought some lush plants the other day to help remind me that we will eventually emerge from the heaviness of winter – revitalized and fresh, into a lighter and more care-free season.

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago
— In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca

This raspberry jam uses all natural ingredients and is lightly sweetened with a bit of honey to create a tart and fresh preserve. The recipe is simple, with only a few ingredients, and uses chia seeds to thicken it to the perfect jammy texture that invites eating straight from the spoon.

May your winter and jam be fruitful and your skin still in tact by Spring.

xx

Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! || www.creamandhoney.ca
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam || Easy and delicious raspberry vanilla jam recipe with no refined sugar! Less than ten ingredients, dairy free, pectin free, plant based + vegan with substitution of agave for honey. || www.creamandhoney.ca

RASPBERRY CHIA SEED JAM

the magic

inspiration:            raspberry picking in my grandma's garden                 

the feels:                tart + slightly sweet

eat with:                 a thick piece of toast w/ butter or coconut oil,                                   oatmeal, yogurt + granola, in a smoothie, muffins,                               croissants, scones with clotted or whipped                                         cream, in a cocktail, on vanilla ice cream

might like it you're into:       picnics, cartwheels, the smell of grass,                                               quiet sunny mornings, cheese boards,                                                 English gardens, The Lion The Witch                                                 and The Wardrobe

 

the science

makes one cup jam || prep + cook time: 20 minutes + extra to cool

ingredients:

  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • zest of half a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (I used white)
  • 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • optional: 1/4 tsp powdered ginger

method: 

  1. In a medium pot add everything except for the chia seeds (raspberries, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and salt). Place on stovetop over medium heat and stir to combine. Once mixture begins to warm up and berries begin to get mushy (within a few minutes), mash with the back of a wooden spoon until it is all evenly broken down.
  2.  Leave for 5 minutes on medium then reduce to low-medium for another 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. 
  3. Remove from heat, add chia seeds and stir to evenly combine. Leave to cool. Pour into jar and refrigerate. 

Keeps for 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge.