created at: 2014-05-07

This year, Mother’s Day is especially meaningful for my family. That’s because my sister-in-law, Chelsea, recently joined the ranks of Levine moms when she gave birth to my nephew, Isaiah. This Sunday, we’ll gather at my parents’ house to solidify her place in the Mother’s Day hall of honorees. (My brother, Nick, will have his own celebration on Father’s Day next month.)

Chelsea’s favorite fruit is raspberries, and since she’ll be the recipient of lots of toasts this weekend, I figured I’d make her a cocktail she’d enjoy. A few spoonfuls of this quick raspberry syrup brighten up a glass of bubbly, whether it’s alcoholic or not. I did extensive research and found that it works in anything with bubbles, including Prosecco, champagne, tonic or seltzer water.

This recipe is extremely versatile. If you’re planning a Mother’s Day brunch, simmering the syrup on the stovetop until it thickens up makes for a great topping for pancakes or French toast. And if raspberries aren’t your favorite, you can steep the fruit of your choice in an equal amount of water and sugar, which are the makings of simple syrup. Just simmer those two ingredients until the sugar dissolves, and toss the fresh fruit into the pot and walk away for a while. The syrup will take on the fruit’s flavor and—perhaps even better—the fruit’s vibrant color, which makes for an eye-catching, celebratory beverage. And this Mother’s Day, there’s a lot to celebrate.

Raspberry and Mint Simple Syrup

Makes about 1½ cups raspberry simple syrup

For a non-alcoholic alternative, use tonic or seltzer water. The simple syrup can also be simmered on the stovetop until reduced to about 1 cup and drizzled over pancakes.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1½ cups fresh raspberries, plus extra for garnish
½ cup fresh mint
1 tablespoon lime juice
Prosecco, champagne, tonic or seltzer water, chilled

1. In medium saucepan, bring sugar and water to simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add raspberries and mint to pot. Cover and let sit for one hour.

2. After one hour, strain liquid into medium bowl, pushing down raspberry mixture with spatula to extract all liquid. Discard solids. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice to liquid.

3. If mixing simple syrup with carbonated beverage, pour 1½ ounces raspberry simple syrup into champagne flute and top off with bubbles. Garnish with fresh raspberries.