Balsam Gin Cocktail


Even though Christmas was the inspiration for this festive cocktail, I think it’s equally suited for summer weather. Made by infusing simple syrup with fir needles, keep your eye out for Balsam Firs the next time you’re on a hike and you’ll be sipping this tasty treat in no time!

balsam gin cocktail

The trickiest part of this recipe is figuring out what a Balsam Fir looks like. Think Christmas tree and when in doubt, don’t forget to consult Google. Before harvesting the needles, make sure that you have permission to do so and use care so you do not damage the tree – we want to keep those needles around for more simple syrup in the future!

Once you have made the simple syrup you can follow the instructions below to mix your drink or experiment to find your own flavor combination. Use more cranberry juice for a fruity drink or ginger ale instead of sparkling water for another layer of flavor – experiment and let me know your favorite combination!

Here’s West Elm’s recipe:

Ingredients For Balsam-Infused Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup balsam fir needles, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon citric acid (can sub juice of 1 lemon)

Ingredients for the Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz gin*
  • 1 oz balsam syrup
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 2 oz sparkling water

To Make the Balsam Syrup
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat gently and stir until sugar dissolves (this does not take long). Remove from heat and add balsam fir needles, stir to combine and cover for 20 minutes or until desired flavor has been achieved. Strain out the balsam needles and then add citric acid or lemon.

To Assemble the Drink
Fill a glass with ice and top with the gin, syrup, juice and sparkling water. Give a stir. Garnish with frozen cranberries or sprigs of balsam. Makes 16 drinks.

* West Elm recommends using a citrus forward like Smooth Ambler’s Gin or Beefeater 24, I used Tanqueray.

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Heidi Van Heel

Heidi Van Heel

Writer, freelancer, and believer in magic living in Minneapolis. In my free time, I love reading, exploring the great outdoors, and experimenting in the kitchen.

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