Thyme. Known as weapon against colds, thyme finds it’s origin in the sunny regions of mediterranean Europe and has become a real crowd pleaser in recent years. Hard to substitute on the culinary level, it’s equally highly appropriate for some good drinks. Wanna bet?!
Fountain of Thyme:
Like so often – what else would you expect – it were the Romans who first discovered this interesting herb. Granted, they were just refering to it’s name and the effect that even old Hippokrates once verified. Thyme’s name comes from the greek word ’thymos’ that means nothing but ’guts and powerful’. If we are to believe an old legend, roman legionaries used to bath in thyme-rehashes right before the fight in order to step up their motivation. If this is only sort of a post romantic Asterix-like anecdote can only be presumed. Yet, this myth revives in the Middle Ages, when young noble ladies tied a bouquet of thyme at their knights’ armor that should have prevented them from being hurt in the fight. Busted myth or confirmed legend? Reason for a confirmation can be it’s origin in Central-Europe where it started to spread in the 11th century. Today it’s planted in the Balkan-countries, East-Africa and Morocco. On a plant-based level, thyme is nothing else but a highly-aromatic half shrub with a height of 30cm. It’s leaves have kind of an elliptic shape and are covered with a felt on the reverse side. Thyme belogns to the plant group of labiates and mostly grows on rocky terrain or dry grassland from may until october. In the summer time its’ blossom sprout but the leaves can be harvested just until winter time.
Formula of Thyme:
Honestly spoken, thyme does not equal thyme. There are many different sorts of thyme but for our purposes, the real thyme and the citrus thyme can be used best and are most interesting because of it’s content. The typical light pizza-like flavour it gives can be related tot he molecules of Thymol and Carvacrol (104-158°Fahrenheit) of which both oft hem are only fat and alcohol soluble. The scent of Linalool and Nerol but as well the flavour of Citronellol (also 104-158° Fahrenheit) give the lightly sweet and fresh rose-like aroma. All molecules but Nerol can not be dissolved in water. Only Rosmarinic Acid (from 194° Fahrenheit) that contains many bitter scents which give thyme a certain balance within the odor profile is water soluble. You can best dissolve it’s flavour by maceration though.
Function of Thyme:
As strange as all these legends appear to be, experts do definitely agree on thyme’s positive effects for the health. Knowns as sniffles’ killer, thyme helps to positive the treatment of respiratory diseases. Ingredient in teas, inhalations, used as throat solution, thyme has been fighting colds, sniffles and sore throats ever since. We owe that to it’s ethereal oils that are anti-inflammatory, expectorant, antibacterial and antispasmodic. Reducing our mediterranean weapon only on it’s health-based effects would however be a fatal mistake. Especially in the mediterranean cuisine, thyme has become an indispensable ingredient. What the BigFive (national animals of the country) are for South-Africa, thyme is for the Provençal cuisine where it comes to use alongside Basil, rosmary, oregano and salve. They all harmonize quite well with eath other since they all have a very compley and highly aromatic profile and though cannot be glossed over by the extreme odor of thyme. They light citrus scents oft he herb give hearty and umami plates an interesting light aroma. It’s bitter components – what else would you expect – help on the digestion and harmonize quite well with red wine or beer. Just because of this contrasty variety of aroma, thyme can be mixed with hard an rough spirits such like Mezcal or Tequila for some cocktails. You should however not forget to treat your herb a good way. Put it into a humid paper and store not longer than a week before using it. If you use dried thyme, don’t worry, it won’t go off for in a long time.
Formula of Thyme:
Even though thyme best harmonizes with hearty mediterranean dishes such like fish or as well in combination with courgette and eggplant, we have decided to use thyme’s broad aroma profile in order to create something quite special. There you go:
Enjoy your thyme!
50ml Orange liqueur-thyme infusion*
25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 piece of goat cheese
Put all ingredients into a shaker and then fill with ice. Give it a good shake for 15-20 seconds and strain it into the tin. Remove ice and reverse-dry-shake it. Strain it into a Coupette and granish it with a grapefruit zeste and a piece of thyme. Cheers.
* Infuse about 40gr of lighty-muddled thyme with 750ml of orange liqueur and let it sit for a week. Strain it. (inspired by Jeffrey Morgenthaler)