There are hundreds of species of Salvia and probably dozens that would be appropriate for this recipe – Salvia officinalis (garden sage), S. elegans (honeydew melon sage, and pineapple sage), S. melissodora (grape scented sage), and S. dorisiana (fruit-scented sage) come to mind.
10 fresh sage leaves
2 cups vodka
1 2/3 cups sugar
Crush the sage in a mortar with a pestle until it is fragrant and transfer it to a 1-pint jar. Rinse out the mortar with some of the vodka, pour all the vodka over the sage, and let the mixture stand, covered, shaking it occasionally, in a dark place for 8 days.
In a saucepan combine the sugar with 2/3 cup water and simmer the mixture, stirring until the sugar is just dissolved. Transfer the sugar syrup to another 1-pint jar and chill it, covered, for 8 days.
Pour the sage mixture through a dampened coffee filter into a 1-quart jar or 750 ml bottle, stir in the sugar syrup, and seal the jar tightly. Shake the cordial and serve it at room temperature or chilled.
Makes about 3 ½ cups.