Sparklers to toast the USA
Sonja Kassebaum of Gurnee, co-founder of the North Shore Distillery in Lake Bluff, stirs a simple syrup to use at the distillery's bar. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Basil or Cucumber Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 large basil leaves OR 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
Combine basil OR cucumber with other ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce to low simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until desired flavor is achieved. (Flavor will intensify the longer cucumbers or basil are in contact with sugar water.) Strain and cool.
All recipes from Sonja Kassebaum
Updated: June 28, 2012 11:12AM
These indoor sparklers won’t trigger the fire alarm — the only sparks flying will be in your mouth. Whether your sparkles come from ginger beer or locally-produced bubbly wine, flavorful, fizzy drinks will complement 4th of July fireworks.
Celebrating starts at 9 a.m. on July 4 at Glenview House in Glenview with mimosas made from champagne and orange juice, then enhanced with yuzu juice and dehydrated lemon. These sparklers will accompany a patriotic menu Chef Grant Slauterbeck designed for the holiday.
Day to honor
Slauterbeck says sparklers reflect what happened on July 4, 1776. “It was the first day we shined, and we sparkled,” he said. “We formed the future on which our great country would eventually be built.”
Drink to that with your favorite libation, or something new.
For those not into sweet, there’s a refreshingly bitter sparkler at The Purple Pig in Chicago. A Chinato Fizz (pronounced: kee-NOT-oh) is the one sparkling drink included on a new menu of cocktails made with amaro, which are Italian bitters.
The Pig’s chef/owner Jimmy Bannos Jr., a Park Ridge resident, said, “We have a whole new menu of amaro (an Italian herbal liqueur) cocktails.” The Chinato Fizz is a mix of prosecco and chinato, a wildly popular amaro that is flavored with cardamom seeds, rhubarb, quinine bark and gentian (violet) root.
At the North Shore Distillery in Lake Bluff, co-founder Sonja Kassebaum salutes the lazy, crazy summers of the vinyl era with a sparkler she dubbed Summer in Stereo. She makes it with the Distiller’s Gin No. 6 she and her husband Derek make, and Stereo, a sparkling wine produced by Illinois Sparkling Co., which makes sparkling wines out west in Utica. Kassebaum enhances Summer in Stereo with homemade, spiced simple syrup and a splash of fresh lime juice.
Kassebaum often shops the Lake Bluff Farmers Market on Fridays, buying ingredients like the fresh strawberries she uses in her Strawberry-Basil Smash. The sparkler is made with North Shore Distillery vodka, club soda and strawberries. The berry red will go well with the patriotic July 4 festivities.
For extra flavor, Kassebaum makes simple syrup and infuses it with basil she grows just outside the front door of the distillery along with curry, chocolate mint and pineapple sage.
Cucumber slices can bring natural, seasonal flavor to simple syrup to include in sparklers like Cucumber Fizz. Kassebaum makes that drink with fresh cucumber, lime, club soda and the distillery’s newest vodka, Sol Chamomile Citrus.
Kassebaum will demonstrate how to make these sparklers during a class from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 11 at North Shore Distillery. For details, visit www.northshoredistillery.com.