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(Not So) Simple, Flavored, & Spiced Syrups

265 posts in this topic

I had a tasty "gingered gentleman" Friday night, which I liked and wanted to try to build at home. (Ratios on that would be welcome!) So I came back to this thread with a question:

1:1 ginger syrup (infused both hot and cold)

Sam, for the infusion-impaired among us, can you give a simple how-to here about the ginger syrup? I get the 1:1 but not the "hot and cold". And how much of what kind of ginger?


Chris Amirault

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1:1 ginger syrup (infused both hot and cold)

Sam, for the infusion-impaired among us, can you give a simple how-to here about the ginger syrup? I get the 1:1 but not the "hot and cold". And how much of what kind of ginger?

There are two fundamentally different ways you can infuse a flavor into simple syrup:

1. You can heat the simple syrup up and "cook" the flavoring ingredient in the hot syrup; or

2. You can put the flavoring ingredient into room temperature (or colder) syrup.

Different characteristics will emerge depending on how the syrup is infused. With ginger, I find that infusing "hot" by simmering the ginger in the syrup creates a certain roundness and depth of flavor that it not possible to achieve with cold infusion. However, hot infused ginger syrup doesn't tend to have much of the "bite" and "zing" associated with ginger. In order to get the zingy bite of ginger, it is necessary to cold-infuse the syrup. If you want depth and roundness and zingy bite, one may hot-infuse the syrup; allow the syrup to cool; strain off the ginger; then add more fresh ginger to the cold syrup for an additional cold infusion.

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Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Just last night I used some to make Dave's Tombstone cocktail (which is more or less Jerry Thomas' Whiskey Cocktail).  As I made it, it's 3 ounces of Wild Turkey 101 proof rye whiskey, 1/4 ounce of 2:1 demerara simple syrup and 2 big dashes of aromatic bitters stirred with cracked ice, strained into a chilled class and garnished with a fat twist of lemon.

And Sam--that's a hell of a Tombstone! (I make mine with a mere 2 oz whiskey.)

Wow, that is A Tombstone that would put hair on the chest of the grim reaper. I make my tomb stones with 2 Oz. and then (in professional lingo) Shake the &!%# out of it. I get a good amount of H2O content which I Find openes up the Rye, and the Temp is cold as the grave. There is a slang phrase in spanish bien muerta, meaning really really cold. Thats how I like the first third of my Tombstones.


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Heh. Since acquiring a case of "Marie Antoinette" glasses (smaller than the typical "V" glass) I've scaled down my Tombstone to 2 ounces. But I still prefer the drink stirred rather than shaken. I use cracked ice, so dilution is not much of an issue. But I like the heavy silkyness from stirring. Since I'm using home ice straight from the freezer instead of taking ice from a bar bin, I also have the advantage of starting out a lot colder (with home ice, stirring with cracked ice in a chilled pitcher seems to result in the coldest drinks).


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I tried the 2 to 1 sugar syrup this last time and found it to be really thick. I would describe the viscosity as on par with honey.

Is that what you folks usually get? I find it is a bit difficult to mix into cold cocktails.

I wonder if there is more "junk" in the washed raw sugar I use, which might contribute to viscosity. They are big crystals, so I would expect that I am using less sucrose than someone using the same volume of refined sugar.

-Erik


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Usually ends up about the same viscosity as pancake syrup whenever I make it... thin enough to swirl and pour instead of ooze, but thick enough to coat the sides of the bottle.

Do you keep your syrup in the fridge? Cold can thicken syrup too much sometimes... If you're making a fruit syrup like grenadine, where the liquid is already sweet, a 1.5 to 1 ratio instead of 2 to 1 seems to work a bit better.

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I've noticed a different viscosity between the syrups I make with white sugar and with demerara; the latter seems much thicker.

I haven't been really careful measuring -- that is, I make a 2-1 syrup, but I don't weigh my ingredients, I measure them. So I'm not sure whether the difference is due to something in the different sugars, or the way they measure out. When I get some spare time, I hope to do some more experimentation, weighing ingredients and being more careful in general.

When I get around to that, I'll post my results.


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I've noticed a different viscosity between the syrups I make with white sugar and with demerara; the latter seems much thicker.

Interesting. I usually make demerara syrup at 2:1 and white syrup at 1:1 (these are the concentrations usually specified in the recipes I use). It strikes me that a 2:1 white syrup would normally have a greater concentration of syrup than a 2:1 demerara syrup simply because most demerara sugar comes in big chunky crystals whereas white sugar usually comes in fine granules. As a result, a cup of fine white sugar contains more sugar than a cup of rough demerara sugar. On the other hand, some health food stores have demerara sugar granulated so fine it is almost powder. If you're using that, it would of course produce a syrup with greater concentration than white.

When making cocktails at home with 2:1 simple syrup from the refrigerator, it's always a good idea to put the syrup bottle into a pan of warm water while you're getting the rest of your ingredients together. That way it will pour just fine by the time you're ready to add the syrup to the shaker.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I have found using dried additives, the shelf life is much longer and the syrup is more intense because you aren't introducing extra H20 into your simple. I haven't tried it with mint, but I will be giving that a whirl soon. For fall I am planning on infusing some simple with dried apricots, some clove and nutmeg and then throwing in a bit of rye.


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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What are your thoughts on using other sugars for making a simple syrup, for the purpose of mixing? Billington's, in particular, seems interesting as they make some truly tasty dark molasses and light muscovado sugars.

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Palm sugar? It makes a great syrup for poaching fruit - especially with an Asian-style meal (or drink?).


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Trader Joe's Organic Turbinado Sugar makes a delicious dark simple syrup that can stand in adequately when I don't have real cane syrup around. The real thing is better, but this works quite well in rum and tequila drinks.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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I just made a simple syrup with Billington's dark molasses sugar. Divine! It had a heady sugar cane aroma. I even diluted some and poured it over ice for a simple sugar water drink. It was quite possibly the best non-alcoholic sweet drink I've had in a long time.

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I particularly like what happens when you melt piloncillo, the Central/South American loaf sugar.

I've been wanting to try this. How much piloncillo to how much water do you use?
Edited by David Santucci (log)

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For rich simple syrup, I normally use a 2-1 syrup made from C&H Pure Cane Washed Raw Sugar.

Lately, though, I've seen Depaz Cane Syrup in some stores.

It's pretty pricy, at least $13 for a 750ml bottle.

Would it be a worthwhile upgrade over the Washed Raw Sugar Syrup I currently use?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I made a batch of Thyme simple syrup that I'm going to play with tomorrow.

So far I'm thinking a lighter more citrus-ey/less juniper-ey gin (probably my local fave, the Bluecoat Dry American Gin), some Lillet, a bit of thyme simple, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a few dashes of my new Fee Brothers Lemon bitters. Garnish with an orange twist to make an herbal French Martini alternative.

Any other suggestions? I remember someone mentioning a Lemon-Thyme Daiquiri at some point. It might go well with Ketel One Citroen or another Lemon flavored vodka too.

Help me out here, folks! I trust all of you implicitly.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I made a batch of Thyme simple syrup that I'm going to play with tomorrow.

So far I'm thinking a lighter more citrus-ey/less juniper-ey gin (probably my local fave, the Bluecoat Dry American Gin), some Lillet, a bit of thyme simple, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a few dashes of my new Fee Brothers Lemon bitters.  Garnish with an orange twist to make an herbal French Martini alternative.

Any other suggestions?  I remember someone mentioning a Lemon-Thyme Daiquiri at some point.  It might go well with Ketel One Citroen or another Lemon flavored vodka too.

Help me out here, folks!  I trust all of you implicitly.

Thyme and red vermouth tastes good in my head.

Of course, I get called crazy regularly :-P


Andy Arrington

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Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I particularly like what happens when you melt piloncillo, the Central/South American loaf sugar.

I've been wanting to try this. How much piloncillo to how much water do you use?

This question slipped by me. But if it's not too late, for syrup, I usually use a one-pound block of piloncillo and a cup of water. If I'm using it to sweeten up a bowl of Punch, I'll double the water, which makes it a bit easier to melt, and subtract that extra cup from the total water in the recipe.


aka David Wondrich

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I made a batch of Thyme simple syrup that I'm going to play with tomorrow.

So far I'm thinking a lighter more citrus-ey/less juniper-ey gin (probably my local fave, the Bluecoat Dry American Gin), some Lillet, a bit of thyme simple, a splash of fresh lemon juice and a few dashes of my new Fee Brothers Lemon bitters.  Garnish with an orange twist to make an herbal French Martini alternative.

Any other suggestions?  I remember someone mentioning a Lemon-Thyme Daiquiri at some point.  It might go well with Ketel One Citroen or another Lemon flavored vodka too.

Help me out here, folks!  I trust all of you implicitly.

Thyme and red vermouth tastes good in my head.

Of course, I get called crazy regularly :-P

Red vermouth? :hmmm: I'll give that one a shot later. Or maybe something with some sort of amaro? That could be interesting too.

I tried my lemon-thyme-gin experiment at home tonight and it definitely has potential. Sadly, I was in such a rush to get to work this afternoon in the foul weather, I forgot to bring the thyme syrup and Lemon bitters to work with me. So I made the drink when I got home with Hendrick's and Dubonnet Blonde since it's what I had in the house. It was pretty good, but I think it will be better with the aforementioned orange twist (I only had lemons and limes in the house) and I have to be careful with the Fee Lemon Bitters. The hole on the top of this bottle is definitely larger than in the other Fee bitters I have and a lot comes out at once. Definitely not a bottle to "dash" from. I might transfer them to an eyedropper bottle or see if I can locate an empty bottle that will "dash" like I want it to.

Anyone know where to find refillable bottles that have a really small opening on top?


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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to make things last longer no one really mentioned sterilizing your storage vessels but that might have been obvious....its amazing all the yeasts and moldy things that exist in the air....

a syrup that i've been using regularly is my fake arabic gomme syrup. finding a substitute for arabic gum was one of the biggest culinary related industrial quests of the late nineteenth century.... the solution....maltodextrin!

if you so desire you can give your syrups body and sometimes a perceived sweetness without adding more sugar with the addition of the maltodextrin....

i thinks its like honey which is often perceived as sweet but if you use one of the those sugar measuring things it does not register very high....stevia is perceived as extremely sweet too.

i use the syrup mostly everywhere but specifically in sazeracs where that lusteriousness makes them slide down your throat....texture and body without cloying sweetness....the trick to working with maltodextrin or even real arabic gum is to stir it dry with your sugar because otherwise the particles will clump up. i add half a cup to one liter of 1:1 simple syrup.... maltodextrin is virtually free at brewery supply shops....

i use agave nectar in a couple liqueurs i make but most notably my aphrodesiac anejo for thematic reasons and because alcohol absorbs it so fast.... a batch can be ready in days. also because it's percieved sweetness is higher than white sugar i need to use less keeping my alcohol content pretty high.

it is hard to definitively figgure out, but should be noted in making exotic flavored syrups that essential oils come out at different temperatures, and dissolve differently in different substances....i.e. water or alcohol....if you boil something in a syrup at too high a temp you can so easily evaporate all the flavors you want keep....

a interesting note on shelf lifes.... flavor chemists calculate the time for example a mint chocolate will be on the shelf before its eaten. the mint is constantly breaking down....to get it right when it will be eaten a year later it might be unbarably minty when its too fresh....that probably doesn't help anyone....it never helped me but i always found it interesting creepy....

some syrups also for some reason do so much better as liqueurs. i haven't been able to explain it well.... allspice syrup is nothing like pimento dram....the alcohol is necessary to bind all those spicy flavors together

my summer idea is to make an epic mint syrup with as many types of mint as i can get my hands on so it rolls across your tongue....i will make the most epic southside ever.....

cheers!

a question: i thought most all essential oils came out of a substance before the bitter compenents so how does blanching notoriously bitter things such as rinds remove the bitter but keep the essential oils? for curacaos they bleach the orange peels in the sun..... anyone got a scientific explanation or tips to control negative bitters?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

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bostonapothecary.com

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a syrup that i've been using regularly is my fake arabic gomme syrup.  finding a substitute for arabic gum was one of the biggest culinary related industrial quests of the late nineteenth century....  the solution....maltodextrin!

I don't see it on their web site, but I believe Kalustyan's sells gum arabic. There are also other places where you can buy it. So, no reason to make a fake gomme syrup.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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a syrup that i've been using regularly is my fake arabic gomme syrup.  finding a substitute for arabic gum was one of the biggest culinary related industrial quests of the late nineteenth century....  the solution....maltodextrin!

I don't see it on their web site, but I believe Kalustyan's sells gum arabic. There are also other places where you can buy it. So, no reason to make a fake gomme syrup.

that gomme arabic is massively expensive and cost prohibitive to your syrups....thats probably why no one really uses the real stuff. maltodextrin is nearly identical on a molecular level and they started replacing arabic gomme with it at the turn of the century.... jerry thomas may not have had it but they did during prohibition. the beauty of it is that its nearly free.... dollar a pound vs. many dollars an ounce....

cheers!


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Hmm...

From the name I initially thought maltodextrin had something to do with maltose (malt sugar). I see it does not. Most that you would buy in a brewery store are industrial products created from Corn or Potato starch. Looks like it is sometimes used as a shortcut to add mouthfeel to home brew made without malting your own grain.

It does seem like some maltodextrins are naturally occurring. An in-between state between starches and simple sugars.

Oh, here're a few more that are used in place of Gum Arabic:

Gum tragacanth (Astragalus gummifer, E413) is a related exudate gum consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides including an arabinogalactan containing α-L-arabinofuranose and 1-4-linked β-D-galalactopyranose [367] and an acidic complex poly-1-4-linked α-D-galalacturonate. It is used as an acid-resistant thickener and emulsifier in sauces, salad dressings and confectionery lozenges. Yet another exudate gum, gum karaya (Sterculia urens) has similar physical properties but consists of an α-D-galacturonic acid/α-L-rhamnose backbone with β-D-galactose and β-D glucuronic acid side chains. Another related gum is the principal component of mesquite gum (Prosopis); an arabinogalactan with a β-1,3-galactopyran core and L-arabinose side chains.
(I don't really understand all that stuff!)

Source: Gum Arabic


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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that gomme arabic is massively expensive and cost prohibitive to your syrups....thats probably why no one really uses the real stuff.

I see some gum arabic right here at around 22 bucks for a pound. Considering the amounts one is likely to use, that doesn't strike me as prohibitively expensive. Isn't the classic gomme syrup also supersaturated?

Here is Dave's recipe from the (currently offline) Esquire pages:

To make it, slowly stir 1 pound gum arabic into one pint distilled water and let soak for a day or two. When this solution is ready, bring four pounds sugar and one quart distilled water to a boil, add the gum solution and skim off the foam. Let it cool, filter it through cheesecloth and bottle it.

I assume one could make an even more concentrated syrup, if desired.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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