Thyme blooms in spring and summer, its tiny flowers offering a sweet scent and flavor that is more delicate than the leaves. You can eat the flowers, as well as turn them into an aromatic, golden liqueur. Liqueur de thym or farigoule is traditional to the south of France, where it is served as a digestif and also used to relieve sore throats and congested coughs. Thyme flower liqueur can be sipped neat, on the rocks, or used in cocktails and desserts (drizzle it over ice cream or grilled stone fruit).
Using several French recipes as a guide, I experimented with a small batch of flowering thyme liqueur last year. I loved it so much that I'm making quite a bit more this year. You can make the liqueur with just flowers if you have many your disposal, or a combination of flowers and leaves, which will make it more pungent. The entire process is extremely easy but takes some patience. Traditionally the thyme steeps in alcohol for 40 days, then ages for two to three months. Taste it periodically and follow your own palate.
If you don't grow thyme yourself, look for it at the farmers' market. Kenter Canyon Farms was selling wonderfully fragrant bunches of flowering thyme at the Hollywood Farmers' Market this week.
Flowering Thyme Liqueur
Makes about 1 quart
2 ounces fresh flowering thyme springs (about 2 large handfuls)
1 (750-milliliter) bottle 80-proof vodka
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup boiling-hot water
Place the thyme in a clean, quart-size jar and cover with vodka. Seal the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks and up to 2 months. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor will be.
Combine the sugar and hot water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let cool.
Using a strainer lined with a coffee filter, strain the infused vodka into a clean jar or bottle. Add the cooled sugar syrup to the vodka. Seal the jar or bottle and store it in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months before serving.
Use within 1 year.