Sydney Sparkles

When it comes to weather, us Irish like to think we’re pretty hardy.  We just love to hate it, almost as much as we love to talk about it; and I did think we had it pretty tough, until I moved to Australia. The weather in this poor country is pure mental.

MENTAL I tell you.

When I first moved here and was house hunting, I amused quite a few real estate agents asking in-depth questions about central heating. At that stage I was such a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) I didn’t realise the buzz phrase in Sydney is ‘reverse-cycle air conditioning’, doh! One actually guy laughed in my face. Well what can I say? I love to keep people entertained.

So, last week, when the reverse-cycle air conditioning in my office gave up the ghost, it wasn’t a good day. The system was kaput, defunct, dead. And it got hot. Oh so very hot. I started to glow, then to glisten and then to sweat profusely; all over my keyboard. As this was happening I also got progressively more stressed and stupid. Apparently my mental faculties are inversely proportional to the temperature of my immediate environment; which means if I ever move to Finland or Antarctica or someplace, I would probably be SO smart.

When I got home I needed alcohol, cold alcohol.

So I made this, and it was yum. I got the idea when browsing Heidi Swanson’s pop-up shop, QUITOKEETO. Heidi made hers with a straightforward thyme-infused syrup, but I decided to take things a step further and use lemon thyme instead of the regular variety. Lemon thyme is wonderful and I would urge everyone to get a pot, just for the beautiful smell if nothing else.

This cocktail is so very yummie. It’s lemoney and herby, aromatic and sweet, I love it; and I usually like my gin so bitter it makes my face turn inside out. So if you’re not a gin drinker, this might be the perfect introduction.

They fixed the air-conditioning, by the way; but the next day there was a hail storm, so it was a bit redundant really. See, I told you: mental.

Lemon-thyme gin sparkler

Like I mentioned, this recipe was adapted from one featured on QUITOKEETO.

For the lemon-thyme syrup:
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
several sprigs of lemon-thyme

Mix everything together in a small pot and gently bring to up to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool and infuse. Once cold, strain into a clean jar or bottle.

For the gin cocktail:
1 measure of gin
1 measure of fresh lemon juice
1 measure of tonic water
2-3 tsp lemon-thyme syrup

Mix all of the ingredients together over ice and add a sprig of lemon-thyme if you’re feeling very fancypants.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the sun.



16 thoughts on “Sydney Sparkles

  1. That looks delicious! I drink gin and tonics constantly (ok, maybe not constantly…) but they can be a little on the sweet side even with fresh lime in them– I’ll have to try the lemon-thyme syrup variation; that sounds amazing!

    (Also it’s a chilly, rainy fall day in California, so it’s disconcerting to read about weather that’s too hot somewhere… glad the air conditioning got fixed though! I am so with you on too-hot weather making my brain stupid.)

    • Hey Allison,

      It makes me so stupid in fact that I talked about ‘mental facilities’ instead of mental faculties in my original post, which although embarrassing, does somewhat prove my point!

      I thought California had a relatively similar climate to New South Wales? Meaning the autumn and winter are so mild you almost don’t even notice them? It’s a good job you can guzzle G&Ts hail, rain or shine! Hope you enjoy them!

      • I don’t know anything about the climate of New South Wales, but you’re right that autumn and winter are very mild, especially in Southern California (where I notice the lack of evening daylight more than anything– we still have plenty of sunny, warm afternoons even in the winter), but it does rain here about– wild guess– 15 days a year?! And yesterday and today were two of them!

      • Actually that all sounds much calmer and more predictable then here. In Sydney, we can have absolute scorchers and the next day will be baltic; and it changes so quickly, the year I first moved here there was one day a storm rolled in and the temperature dropped 15 degrees in 10 minutes!!! It was bizarre! As someone who grew up nearer the poles I too miss the longer evenings, especially in the summer. Hope the rain didn’t get you too damp!

  2. Your post made me laugh because just this summer I re-read a few of his childhood works and lemon-thyme on the g ‘n t actually sounds pretty perfect (never heard of that before?!). I am glad I ran into your blog (came via Allison’s!)

  3. Once it gets past 19 degrees, I stop functioning! Being of the especially pale variety, I also have to shadow-lurk whenever the sun comes out unexpectedly (seriously, 15 mins of exposure and I’m burnt!). This looks fantastic – with Christmas so close I can think of a few people who would appreciate this syrup as a stocking filler.

    • Ha! I’m not actually that pale, but the Australian sun is a KILLER, so I similarly shadow-lurk and hide under ridiculously over-sized hats. There’s no frickin ozone in this country! I never actually thought of using this as a stocking filler – great idea, I hope it goes down well!

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