The clever farm-to-table team at Manresa restaurant in Los Gatos is at it again with great ideas for cooking with nasturtiums. Recently I posted on their peppery nasturtium leaf pesto. Last week I stopped by to check out their new cocktail lounge, and was handed a beautiful pink drink—a nasturtium cooler. Delicious! Peppery flavored once again, but also sweet and really refreshing.
The bar manager explained that they make a simple syrup with sugar and water and add nasturtium blossoms from Love Apple Farms, the farm that supplies nearly all of the restaurant’s produce. They let the syrup steep overnight, and whatever mix of blossom colors they use, the syrup seems to turn pink. Then for the cooler, all they do is mix some syrup with sparkling water. So easy. The drink I tried was virgin, but you could add a little vodka for a cocktail if you like.
Here’s how I recreated the drink at Sunset.
Nasturtiums in the Sunset test garden
MAKES 1 1/3 cups syrup
The syrup keeps about 2 weeks in the fridge.
1 cup sugar
20 nasturtium blossoms
1. Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add blossoms, stir gently, and let cool.
2. Chill syrup overnight, covered, then strain. Pour sparkling water into glasses and add as much syrup as you like.