“Candy-colored mystery. The color of your mind.”
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I’m not really sure whether I had heard Beach House before I went searching for a “lemon” song. I’m fairly sure I had heard “Master Of None” prior to making this recipe. As I listen to a fair amount of music in the dreamy shoe-gaze genre, and Beach House is a stellar example of a modern update, I’m guessing I first heard them around their debut in 2006. That I probably can’t name a single song of theirs, even if I heard it, is somewhat the sadness of the current music streaming world. I listen to a lot of music, like 5-6 hours or more a day, and yet know very few bands by name. Since the whole Lockdown 2020 thing, I’ve been trying to get better about that and actively listen to artist catalogs versus just streaming playlists. This led me to revisit Beach House (and this recipe). I am still certain, despite many other “lemon” songs, that this Beach House track is the perfect theme for this recipe. It has a slow trippy layered shimmer that’s a bit like a less bombastic Cocteau Twins on ‘ludes. They have a lightness and happiness rarely found in the shoe-gazer realm and it’s a refreshing as a sweet-tart lemon soda.
I had been testing my old BBQ joint lemonade recipe, scaling it down to home cookbook size, when I realized I had a ton of juiced lemon rinds. I’ve always hated food waste so did some research to see if I could make something with the rinds. I discovered this great oleo-saccharum hack on Serious Eats. Essentially, you macerate the rinds in white sugar for several hours yielding a no-cook syrup that has a beautiful floral lemon flavor. It’s definitely an upgrade from the usual “juice in cooked simple syrup” flavor.
No-Cook Lemon Syrup
My recipe for this syrup is 2 parts lemon rind to 1 part white sugar by weight. If you have 24 ounces of rinds – you’ll need 12 ounces of sugar. I cut the juiced rinds into quarters to increase surface area. Place cut rinds in a bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Stir to thoroughly coat rinds – no water or cooking needed. Cover and let sit on the counter for 4 hours stirring every 45 minutes or so.
Strain syrup through a fine-mesh strainer. Return rinds to the bowl. Working in batches, place some of the rinds in the strainer and press with a spoon to get any remaining syrup and oils. Transfer the syrup to a bottle and store it in the fridge.
Lemon syrup, seltzer, crushed ice
Makes 1 drink
2 ounces lemon syrup
Take an 8oz glass and fill halfway with crushed ice. Pour 2 ounces of lemon syrup over the ice. Top off with cold seltzer and stir.