by Nate Lumpkin
“Assume Nothing!” A mantra for The Crown as we worked towards opening our doors in March of 2019, the phrase became a Menu section, encouraging our visitors to drop their preconceptions and be open to new and delicious experiences. And now it’s the title of a recipe series, for you to recreate at home. Here’s to a year of assuming nothing!
This is a sparkling iced americano with blueberry and lemongrass syrup.
In making this drink, I thought of the bright blueberry flavors in the fresh Ethiopias that arrive every summer, and also thought about some of my favorite July flavors: blueberry ice cream and blueberry pie. The result is a fresh and juicy sparkling iced americano, with the light flavors of blueberry and lemongrass to sweeten the bitterness of the coffee. The soft bubbles that form when the espresso is added to the sparkling water remind me of the foam on the Pacific Ocean, where I hope we’ll all be able to spend plenty of time this summer!
- 2oz blueberry-lemongrass syrup
- 8oz sparkling water
- 2oz espresso or cold brew concentrate
- Mix, stir and drink!
Blueberry and Lemongrass Syrup:
- One quart water
- 6 lemongrass stalks trimmed (about a quarter-pound untrimmed)
- 225g sugar
- 225g blueberry jam
The first step is to make lemongrass water. Trim the lemongrass: slice off the hard root ends and any dry tips and remove the outer leaves. Cut the remaining stalks in half. Roll each stalk with a rolling pin in order to crush the stalks, causing them to open and their fibers to separate. The oils should come out and they should smell fragrant. Immerse the stalks in the water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for half an hour, then remove from heat and strain the lemongrass.
The second step is to flavor the water. Return the water to the pot, turn heat to medium, and add the sugar and blueberry jam. No need to bring it to a boil, the water is probably hot enough at this point that the sugar and jam dissolves. We found that jam that’s a little more the consistency of jelly works best. Cook for up to five minutes, or until it looks like everything’s dissolved, then strain through a metal strainer to remove the solids from the jam. That’s it!
Cold Brew Concentrate or One-shot Espresso
Cold Brew concentrate:
- 78g coffee
- 400g cold water
At the Crown, we make our cold brews in big Toddy systems using 5 pounds of coffee and 4 gallons of water. The coffee is ground coarse and steeped in big paper filters for 18–24 hours before being drained. If you don’t want to make 4 gallons of coffee all at once, it’s easy to make cold brew in a French Press or other smaller device with the following recipe:
Add the coffee to your press, cover with the water, stir to break up any clumps, and then cover and refrigerate for 12-16 hours. At the end of the steeping time, press and drain. For this drink, I would try making a stronger cold brew with a 1:5 ratio instead of the usual 1:8 we use at the Crown. If you happen to have an espresso machine or Moka pot on hand, you can use your usual espresso recipe instead of this one.
To make the drink, add to a cup: ice, 2oz of the blueberry-lemongrass syrup, 8oz sparkling water, and 2oz of your cold brew concentrate or espresso. Stir and drink!