Saffron is a spice harvested in autumn from the crocus sativus flower. It's aroma is often described as reminiscent of metallic honey with hay-like notes, while its taste has also been noted as hay-like and sweet. Saffron contributes a luminous yellow-orange colouring to foods. Throughout history it has been used to dye the robes of Hindu monks as well as in the perfume industry.
The most effective way to draw out the colour and flavour of saffron is to steep the threads in a little warm water, stock, milk or white wine for about 30 minutes before using. Soaking before adding it to your recipe is the best way to ensure that it’s distributed evenly throughout the dish. You can usually tell that your saffron has soaked long enough when the liquid gives off a strong sweet, straw like aroma and the liquid has changed to a beer-like colour.
A spritz is an Italian wine-based cocktail, commonly served as an aperitif. It's a great way to showcase the sweet and fragrant flavours notes of Saffron. If you enjoy entertaining, keep a tray of these gorgeous flavoured ice cubes handy in the freezer.
To make the Saffron ice cubes:
Make a basic sugar syrup using the ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part sugar. Bring this liquid to the boil, ensuring that all of the sugar crystals have dissolved. Remove from the heat, add 4-5 strands of Squirrel Gully Saffron and a hint of orange zest. Allow this mixture to cool in ice cube trays and then freeze overnight.
Once the ice cubes are frozen, simply pour over 60ml Prosecco, 30ml Aperol and a splash of Soda water. Garnish with mint or a wedge of orange.