To me, fir tips taste like California. You’ll see them in our state in the early spring, and I’m sure throughout much of the country. Look for new, pale green growth. They have a great subtle flavor, in stark contrast to the darker green needles. We use them as often as we can at our events, whenever a dish can handle its citrusy floral bite. Using the recipe below, we make a simple syrup with fir tips, vodka, and—assuming that you’re glamping and not conquering Half Dome—a dash of soda.
Find a local fir tree. (Alternatively, you could substitute an herb like rosemary. It’s a different take on this syrup, but it has a nice flavor). You’ll want to look for the pale green new growth, as the darker green needles will have a bitter tannic flavor.
30 fir tips – washed with cold water
2 cups water
2 cups white granulated sugar
Whisk or wooden spoon
Now make it!
1) Mix the water and sugar in your pot, turn the heat to medium, then simmer and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
2) Turn off the heat and steep the tips (put them in the pot and leave them) for 30 minutes. This is where that great flavor comes from.
3) Strain the tips and allow the syrup to cool in your fridge.
4) Now make your drink! How you mix the syrup depends on your taste. I like to add one tablespoon, a healthy glug of gin (3 oz. always seems a bit too puritan to me), and a splash of soda. Delicious.