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(Not So) Simple, Flavored, & Spiced Syrups

265 posts in this topic

I have found that, if you cannot make ginger syrup of the kind Toby is using (fresh ginger juice mixed with sugar -- which is not very practical for home mixologists) then you can do very well by aggressively muddling plenty of thin slices of fresh ginger with simple syrup and double straining on the way out to catch all the tiny pieces of ginger.

how about microplaning some ginger and infusing in simple, then straining? may be a more attractive option depending on your preference for serious elbow grease (muddler) vs. shredded knuckles (grater)...

I know this is a mint thread...

For the spiciest ginger syrup you want to not add water to the ginger, you want to use the ginger water. I have tossed some ginger in a blender/vita prep/hobart and the when it is well ground gathered it up and squeezed it to get the ginger liquid out then added sugar to that. You really don't need much liquid as you add twice the volume of sugar to it.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I know this is a mint thread...

For the spiciest ginger syrup you want to not add water to the ginger, you want to use the ginger water.  I have tossed some ginger in a blender/vita prep/hobart and the when it is well ground gathered it up and squeezed it to get the ginger liquid out then added sugar to that.  You really don't need much liquid as you add twice the volume of sugar to it.

Toby

So then fine-grating could be a good alternative for those who don't want to make large quantities or can't pony up for a juicer. I can squeeze a significant amount of liquid out of grated ginger. Certainly labor intensive for one or a few drinks, though.


 

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I know this is a mint thread...

For the spiciest ginger syrup you want to not add water to the ginger, you want to use the ginger water.  I have tossed some ginger in a blender/vita prep/hobart and the when it is well ground gathered it up and squeezed it to get the ginger liquid out then added sugar to that.  You really don't need much liquid as you add twice the volume of sugar to it.

Toby

So then fine-grating could be a good alternative for those who don't want to make large quantities or can't pony up for a juicer. I can squeeze a significant amount of liquid out of grated ginger. Certainly labor intensive for one or a few drinks, though.

To keep this thread hijacked... :cool:

Ginger infused vodka can pack some heat if you keep it in the freezer. I made mine with candied ginger so it had a little sweetness, but not much. I would think you could use that plus simple to get the right balance.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Have you tried putting ginger slices in a garlic press? I find this the easiest way to extract the juice.

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Certainly in the Jerry Thomas era raspberry seemed to be most common but pomegranate syrup in the form of grenadine and orgeat syrup (is that a fruit?) have been more or less common in the prewar era as well. Pineapple syrup not unheard-of and indeed is included in the highly delicious East India.

I think of both orgeat and grenadine as complex syrups with other stuff in them.

How do you make pineapple syrup? Is this where you make a thick simple syrup, pour it over pineapple and let the syrup extract the pineapple flavor? That's quite different than the raspberry syrup which is actually make raspberry juice and puree.

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Certainly in the Jerry Thomas era raspberry seemed to be most common but pomegranate syrup in the form of grenadine and orgeat syrup (is that a fruit?) have been more or less common in the prewar era as well. Pineapple syrup not unheard-of and indeed is included in the highly delicious East India.

I think of both orgeat and grenadine as complex syrups with other stuff in them.

How do you make pineapple syrup? Is this where you make a thick simple syrup, pour it over pineapple and let the syrup extract the pineapple flavor? That's quite different than the raspberry syrup which is actually make raspberry juice and puree.

Yeah, that seems to be the most common recommended way to make pineapple syrup, though the flavor will fade over time, or did when I made it like that. I think the distinction that makes grenadine not a fruit syrup may be a bit technical, it's used in more or less the same way, and contributes a fruity character to drinks.

Definitions of what is and is not classic are of course a matter of opinion but Don the Beachcomber liked Passion Fruit Syrup quite a bit it seems, and green mint syrup pops up here and again, as well as anisette syrups, mostly in Frenchy Things. Strawberry syrup not exactly a common thing to call for but not unheard-of, either. Apricot and lemon come up in the Savoy.

Any particular syrup you might be looking for a recipe for? Or just determining which ones you want to have?


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I have found that, if you cannot make ginger syrup of the kind Toby is using (fresh ginger juice mixed with sugar -- which is not very practical for home mixologists) then you can do very well by aggressively muddling plenty of thin slices of fresh ginger with simple syrup and double straining on the way out to catch all the tiny pieces of ginger.

I usually make batches of ginger beer using the Audrey Saunders recipe. Would ginger beer + simple syrup (1:1) be an appropriate substitute for ginger syrup?


"I'll put anything in my mouth twice." -- Ulterior Epicure

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I have found that, if you cannot make ginger syrup of the kind Toby is using (fresh ginger juice mixed with sugar -- which is not very practical for home mixologists) then you can do very well by aggressively muddling plenty of thin slices of fresh ginger with simple syrup and double straining on the way out to catch all the tiny pieces of ginger.

I usually make batches of ginger beer using the Audrey Saunders recipe. Would ginger beer + simple syrup (1:1) be an appropriate substitute for ginger syrup?

Maybe you can just sweeten the ginger beer, which after all is really just a kind of ginger water. You can make a 1:1 ginger beer/sugar syrup and that might work.

Really though I think slkinsey's suggestion to muddle some ginger in syrup and double strain is the best solution. I've done it (usually to make Penicillins) and it works perfectly, loaded with ginger spice. Best of all, it doesn't really take much extra time for good results. The problem of ginger syrup shelf life isn't going to go away no matter how you make the syrup.


nunc est bibendum...

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I have found that, if you cannot make ginger syrup of the kind Toby is using (fresh ginger juice mixed with sugar -- which is not very practical for home mixologists) then you can do very well by aggressively muddling plenty of thin slices of fresh ginger with simple syrup and double straining on the way out to catch all the tiny pieces of ginger.

I usually make batches of ginger beer using the Audrey Saunders recipe. Would ginger beer + simple syrup (1:1) be an appropriate substitute for ginger syrup?

Maybe you can just sweeten the ginger beer, which after all is really just a kind of ginger water. You can make a 1:1 ginger beer/sugar syrup and that might work.

Really though I think slkinsey's suggestion to muddle some ginger in syrup and double strain is the best solution. I've done it (usually to make Penicillins) and it works perfectly, loaded with ginger spice. Best of all, it doesn't really take much extra time for good results. The problem of ginger syrup shelf life isn't going to go away no matter how you make the syrup.

If you slice the ginger thin enough, like with a mandolin, I bet you can just shake it hard and you dont even have to muddle.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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If you slice the ginger thin enough, like with a mandolin, I bet you can just shake it hard and you dont even have to muddle.

I find grating it to be quick and effective. If you use quite a fine grater (the sort of size you'd use for nutmeg) nearly all the fibrous flesh will stick to the grater leaving you with just the juice - I don't seem to lose any flavour doing it this way.

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If you slice the ginger thin enough, like with a mandolin, I bet you can just shake it hard and you dont even have to muddle.

I find grating it to be quick and effective. If you use quite a fine grater (the sort of size you'd use for nutmeg) nearly all the fibrous flesh will stick to the grater leaving you with just the juice - I don't seem to lose any flavour doing it this way.

I find that the best tool for grating ginger is a ceramic ginger grater. The price on the one I linked to at Amazon isn't bad, but if you live in a city with a Japanese market, you can probably do better.


"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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If you slice the ginger thin enough, like with a mandolin, I bet you can just shake it hard and you dont even have to muddle.

I keep ginger root in the freezer and you can shave it devilishly thin with a knife when it is frozen.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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gallery_8505_276_85464.jpg

Here's what I have in the refrigerator these days.  From left to right: 1:1 simple syrup, 2:1 cane syrup (made with dehydrated cane juice), 2:1 demerara syrup, 1:1 ginger syrup (infused both hot and cold), 1:1 lime syrup.

Alright, this is a 5 year old post, but I am having a hell of a time trying to find syrup bottles like this - are they glass or acrylic? Do you know a source?

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I think I got every last one of them at the Container Store.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I think I got every last one of them at the Container Store.

I've had no luck with their terrible website - I'll just head over there today and see what they've got.

Thanks!

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very nice bottles, but i've given up on bottles with speed-pourer type tops for any of my syrups. they clog after 2 or 3 pours (it's the little tube that's supposed to let air in that gets stopped up) and cleaning them is a pain.

instead, i use syrup pourers -- the kind normally used for maple/corn syrup. they aren't too expensive, you can easily find them (Target), they pour fast, don't clog easily, and are painless and fast to clean. need more than 12?

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I have actually replaced all those pour tops. Pour tops for syrups only really work when you're going through a lot of syrup, where the pour tops can be cleaned frequently, and when the syrup is not poured at refrigerator temperature (i.e., in a bar). Nowadays, I just keep the bottles sealed with rubber corks.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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very nice bottles, but i've given up on bottles with speed-pourer type tops for any of my syrups.  they clog after 2 or 3 pours (it's the little tube that's supposed to let air in that gets stopped up) and cleaning them is a pain. 

instead, i use syrup pourers -- the kind normally used for maple/corn syrup.  they aren't too expensive, you can easily find them (Target), they pour fast, don't clog easily, and are painless and fast to clean.  need more than 12?

Cleaning speed pours is a cinch, just toss them in a tub of very hot water for a few minutes and that should do the trick. Make sure the water isn't too hot though, or you can melt the plastic part. No need to ask me how I know this.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Over in the All about Bitters topic, I posted last spring about a batch of tincture experiments. I was hoping to do some bitter-making but the summer... and most of the fall... got away from me.

However, today, as I was preparing straight-up simple syrup for a cocktail class I'm teaching tomorrow night, I found myself with about 250 ml of extra simple, and I thought I'd take a crack at making a spiced syrup using the tinctures. I didn't measure -- this was a dash 'n' taste 'n' dash affair -- but kept track of rough amounts.

I used cinnamon, allspice, and clove, of course, but also combined a few hefty dashes of pau d'arco and sassafrass. I used less costus root and wild cherry bark proportionally, as they are quite a bit more bitter than the other ingredients.

The finished syrup is layered and complex, with different elements revealed over ten seconds or so. Next up will be figuring out some applications, starting with Old Fashioneds, Milk Punches, and Toddies.

Given that the holidays are on the way, surely I'm not the only person making spiced syrup. How do you make it? What do you use it for?


Edited by Chris Amirault to clarify some language (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I've never quite understood the utility behind making spiced syrups. Why not mix together a "spice blend" of tinctures (aka, a kind of bitters) and dash that in? The problem with spiced syrups, in my opinion, is that you're stuck in a position where in order to add flavor you have to add sweetness. I'd prefer to add my spice flavors and sweetness separately, which allows for much more flexibility in recipes and ingredients.

For a bar drink, where the spiced syrup has been titrated precisely for the specific cocktail made with specific ingredients, I imagine it's easier than dashing in a "spice bitters." But, for example, let's say you have a spiced syrup that works really well with bourbon #1. But you want to make the drink with bourbon #2. #2 is sweeter than #1, however, so you don't want to use as much sweetness. But now there isn't the amount of spice you'd like. And so on. Making that same spice infusion (or, in Chris's example, making the same blend of tinctures) into alcohol makes this easy: Just put in the amount of sugar appropriate to the ingredients or recipe variation, and dash in the spice mix until you get the presence you want.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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In general, I agree that the consistently of the sweetness is a limitation. In this case, I was using up some simple and trying different combinations of existing tinctures for fun. There was an added benefit, though, which is that the syrup medium allowed me to sample as I went, instead of dashing the mixture into another liquid to taste it.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I do these syrups all the time as a thing of "convenience". Right now I have a ginger/lime syrup for a quick margarita in my fridge. I also do sometimes water/brown sugar/mint for a quick mint julep getting around the requirement of having fresh mint in the house which won't last long at all. I also do a ginger simple syrup, to be mixed with muddled frozen cranberries, calvados and gin.

These syrups are a great tool of preserving flavors so I can pull of a decent cocktail without planning or constant stock keeping of fresh ingredients.

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I think there is some utility to making syrups infused with things such as lime, lemon or grapefruit peel as a way of increasing those flavors when used in addition to some fresh juice to balance. I disagree that ginger syrup or especially any syrup made from fresh herbs have a very good shelf-life or are an alternative to using fresh ingredients, but that's another subject. As are, I suppose, the above-mentioned zest-infused syrups in a thread about spice-infused syrups. Something like grapefruit syrup or pineapple syrup or sirop de citron has much broader applicability than a cinnamon-clove-cardomom (or whatever) syrup.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I think there are many good reasons to use syrups over tinctures for some applications. The most immidiate for me is that the rules regarding in-house infusions in Texas are quite restrictive and while there are certainly places that work around it, my management is not interested in arm-wrestling TABC for something like that and so I use flavored syrups of all kinds with regularity, and the spice flavors are strong enough that the syrup can be used in small barspoon amounts to add a layer of spice if I want, without adding significant sweetness. They are also great for using in nonalcoholic applications. Third, from my experiments in bitters manufacture, I feel comfortable saying that flavors express differently in alcohol than in water (syrup). While the difference is usually subtle, sometimes you may desire the more round expression of spice that a syrup provides, vs the sharper expression a tincture offers.

As for what I've used them for, well early this year I started making a syrup whose flavor was based off of the spice flavors in Don the Beachcomber's Nui Nui (in Sippin Safari, p 92) which includes Angostura Bitters, cinnamon syrup, and 'Dons Spices', itself a mix of Pimento Dram and vanilla syrup. Apart from a variation on the Nui Nui using said syrup, we also had pretty good success with something we call a 'Greater Antilles' which is essentially a Mojito sweetened with the aforementioned syrup and swapping out the Flor de Cana 7 yr for the rum. Pretty good.

Our next drink menu is coming out soon and it will feature a made-to-order eggnog based off of Jerry Thomas, using Buffalo Trace Bourbon for the spirit and the same spice syrup for the sweetener. Oh yes.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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